The UN General Assembly last year proclaimed 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, yet illegal settlements continue to be built on the West Bank with little criticism from Australia.
Attempting to move a motion in the Senate this week, Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne said:
"It is disgraceful that when in Israel recently the Foreign Minister Julie Bishop questioned whether the unlawful settlements were in fact illegal at all.
"The Foreign Minister must now publically acknowledge that the settlements are unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
"Labor blocked the vote in the Senate in spite of the fact they know the humanitarian situation is deteriorating. A gas attack on a group of activists earlier this week highlights the urgent need for international support for Palestinian communities.
"Reports that rubber bullets were fired along with tear gas at villagers and marchers is extremely disturbing and deserves investigation and condemnation.
"International pressure for an end to intimidation and violence on both sides is an essential step in the road to peace and deserves the support of the Senate. It is disappointing indeed that the ALP refuses to openly acknowledge this."
NOTICE OF MOTION - 24 March 2014
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that -
1) Notes that:
a. Over the past year, Israeli settlements in the West Bank have significantly increased;
b. It is unlawful under the Fourth Geneva Convention for an occupying power to transfer parts of its own population into the territory it occupies;
c. World leaders, including the British Prime Minister, have called for a halt in settlement activity by Israel.
2) Calls on
a. The Israeli government to cease expansion of settlements in the West Bank;
b. The Australian Foreign Minister to publicly acknowledge that all settlements are illegal and in breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Senator Christine Milne
Leader of the Australian Greens