Rarely if ever has Australia or the US said no to Israel. Now is the time

Unless a way towards Palestinian independence is opened, the region will remain a cauldron seething with tensions constantly threatening to erupt

The Guardian | Peter George | 13 February 2024

There is no way Dutton will ever see Palestinians as humans with rights because there is no votes or political gain for him – this has to be down to Albanese and Wong to lead from the front – Mark

If foreign policy is predicated on self-interest, then now’s the time for Australian political parties to set aside petty political point scoring and revert to a more mature approach to international affairs that we haven’t witnessed in 40 years or more.

In the 1970s, Australia carved a reputation as a middle-ranking power with influence beyond its natural place in global affairs.

Gough Whitlam boldly opened relations with China. Malcom Fraser championed the boycott of South Africa’s apartheid regime. Australia gained notice for independent thinking as it emerged from the shadows of its colonial past.

As a correspondent in the Middle East for more than two decades since the 1980s, I was struck by the perception by Arab leaders and diplomats of Australia as a friendly, independent and trustworthy nation, albeit one that sheltered beneath the American umbrella.

Australia’s reputation withstood the unwavering, uncritical support for Israel expressed by a stream of Australian dignitaries – including the prime minister Bob Hawke – and journalists accepting Israeli hospitality, Israeli briefings, Israeli-supervised whistle-stop excursions into Palestinian occupied territories.

That reputation evaporated overnight when the later prime minister John Howard and foreign minister Alexander Downer took the ill-omened, fateful decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

It has never recovered.

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Father Dave

Anglican Priest, Professional Boxer,Social activist and Father of four


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