Time to put up or shut up

BY LUKE WALLADGE

The Daily Telegraph
July 7, 2017

Former NSW Premier Bob Carr’s been at it again, this time out and about in NSW Labor dealing with the pressing issues in western Sydney. You know, the subject on every punter’s lips, the major vote-winning concerns around the kitchen tables of working families from Double Bay to Lithgow.

The recognition of Palestinian statehood. Of course.

And as a supporter of the State of Israel, I for one am with him.

Yes, I support Bob Carr’s push for NSW Labor to recognise Palestinian statehood at its conference later this month. Leave aside the facts that New South Wales has not, as far as I am aware, got a foreign policy, or a Foreign Minister, or embassies in the great capitals of the Middle East or a vote at the United Nations. These are but technicalities in our grand plan, Bob and I, to bring peace to Jerusalem from Lakemba and Vaucluse. No, really. And I’ll tell you why.

The Palestinian leadership has for decades now been able to largely escape international scrutiny and judgement, relying on the soft bigotry of low expectations when it comes to their actions and inactions. Comfortably ensconced in mansions and flying around in Lear jets, freed from the actual responsibilities of such tedious things as elections, governing compromises or even just keeping the water running and the lights on (those last two being done by Israel) they can purloin aid money for terrorism and inculcate a cult of death among their own people.

Time to put up or shut up. Let’s recognise Palestine as a state, or two. Lets give it’s leaders – be they Hamas or Fatah, take your pick – the responsibilities of keeping the lights on, keeping the water running, raising their communities up, educating them, building a future for their own people.
Lets place on these men – currently in the twelfth year of their four-year terms – the responsibilities of democratic elections and the expectations of tolerating dissent and abiding by democratic process.
Let’s ask of them – currently engaged in the murder of gays, the subjugation of women, the propagation of genocide against small peoples – that they tolerate and protect minority rights, be they sexual or religious or ethnic minorities.

You want the responsibilities of statehood, you got them. All of them.

As a state – or two states – we will expect you to live at peace with your neighbours. The arming of terror groups, the rocketing of civilians, the violation of another state’s safety, security and territorial integrity will be met with force, state against state – a just war, causus belli. Such death and violence will be no more tolerated in a Palestinian state than it would be in any other. Would Australia stand by and do nothing if Indonesia killed our citizens and bombed our cities and waged armed struggle against us? No, and neither will the neighbours of the new Palestine.

There is an argument that giving the Palestinian leadership untrammelled control of the West Bank and Gaza is a threat to Israel’s security, that they will arm their populace and use their new-found authority to murder Israelis and wage war against the Jewish state. And the experience of Israel’s complete withdrawal from Gaza suggests that this is a pretty likely outcome.

But isn’t that the case now? Hamas rockets southern Israel, Hezbollah rockets the north. Iran is building a nuclear bomb, all the better to kill Jews with. Israel may have to close it’s borders tighter but there’s nothing new in that, sadly.

And ultimately the best security guarantee for Israel is not and will not be any wall or bomb or border or occupying force. The best security guarantee for Israel always has been and will be the support of the international community for Israel. Right now, this is a battle that Israel is losing; what does it have to lose by calling the bluff of the odious Palestinian leadership, reversing course and granting recognition to this laughable pseudo-country?

Of course, in practice a Palestinian state is a nonsense. The reasons why, and why now is not the time, have been very well covered. Sensible Labor figures like Tanya Plibersek understand all this; Plibersek has announced she won’t be backing the Carr motion at Conference.
But perhaps we should stop trying to make these decisions for the Palestinian leadership and their useful idiots in the West and instead, simply give them what they claim to desire.

Three times in the last 70 years, the Palestinian leadership have been offered a state; three times they have run away. No more. Let us support, nay let us demand, a Palestinian state, once and for all, two states for two peoples. Isn’t that what they really want?

Luke Walladge is the Director of Western Industrial Strategies and a former Federal Senate staffer and senior Labor adviser.