Albanese declares Palestine statehood a real solution

Andrew Brown |

Anthony Albanese says real consideration is being given to recognising Palestine as a state.
Anthony Albanese says real consideration is being given to recognising Palestine as a state.

Anthony Albanese insists suggestions of recognising Palestinian statehood are being taken seriously and are not just a hypothetical.

The prime minister said taking potential steps to formally recognise Palestine as a state was a serious way of ensuring peace in the Middle East.

“This is about being a serious player, about real solutions to the Middle East conflict … looking beyond the current conflict and engaging as we have been doing so with our partners,” he told Nine’s Today program on Thursday.

 “If you look at the position of (US) President Biden and British Foreign Secretary (David) Cameron … has said very similar things.”

The comments follow a speech by Foreign Minister Penny Wong on Tuesday, who said formal recognition of Palestine could be the only way of ending a cycle of violence in the region.

There has been no formal decision within the government on whether to recognise Palestine but the prime minister says any stance on a two-state solution remains unchanged.

“We know there’s been this cycle of violence over a long period of time, my entire lifetime this has been an issue,” Mr Albanese said.

“We know the solution is a two-state solution and what the world is doing is engaging in discussions about how that might work out.”

However the comments on potential Palestinian statehood were met with condemnation by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton.

During an address at the Sydney Opera House on Wednesday, Mr Dutton said the government’s foreign policy position exposed a “clear prejudice” towards Israel.

“For a crass domestic political win, Penny Wong has irreparably damaged our relations with our ally Israel,” Mr Dutton said.

“It is the most reckless act of a foreign minister I have seen in my 22 years in the parliament – and it has weakened our international standing.”

But the prime minister said the foreign minister’s comments were only reflecting what had been said at an international level.

“(This is) just more nasty negativity from Peter Dutton, who has nothing positive to offer about domestic politics or about international engagement,” he told ABC TV.

“This has been an ongoing issue. It needs to be resolved in the interests of both Israelis and Palestinians. And Israel has an interest in resolving this issue.”