The balance of political power in Australia took a long-known change for the worse this week with the Greens taking on kingmaker voting powers in the Senate. It would seem many were taken off guard by this, an outcome of the previous general election that will further tarnish the quality and effectiveness of governance in our country.
Australia is in better shape than many of the world economies, but remains vulnerable to the insecurity of global financial markets. The greatest level of confidence that the Government can provide is to say that it will not exceed its stated borrowing limits. The threshold value to which they refer is $200 billion dollars. The consequences of this have not been the focus of economic debate, but on that level of borrowing Australian taxpayers will be paying $15.4 billion dollars a year to service a debt. Just two years ago Australia had no net debt. In fact the surplus money was directed to a future fund. This is the already gifted legacy of the current Government to the Australian electorate.
Hand in hand with the mismanagement of Australia’s economic prosperity is the diminishing value of integrity relating to political debate on foreign affairs. To the credit of the Government and the coalition opposition, an amendment to yesterday’s senate motion proposed by the Greens was defeated. However that the amendment was so much as proposed in the first place is enough to highlight the sheer danger of the abrasive and immoral political tidings of the Greens. The tone of the amendment, as shown in the Hansard transcript can be seen here.
As can be seen in this article, the original motion of the Senate was to condemn Marrickville council for advocating a boycott of Israel. The Senate motion acknowledged Israel as a legitimate and democratic state and a good friend to Australia. The motion was passed easily when Labor and coalition senators voted for it. An amendment proposed by Greens leader Bob Brown for the Senate to recognise “the rights of the people of Palestine and Israel to live together as self-governing states based on the 1967 borders” was defeated.
The shameful state of the Greens defeated amendment, is that it sides with a Palestinian narrative, which is historically false. The assertion that Israel’s “occupation” is “illegitimate” and an “occupation of Palestinian land” is far from factual. So long as this stance is accepted by the Green’s party as a position relating to the conflict, they cannot be considered to be an objective broker. That they call for a motion which “recognises the rights of the people of Palestine and Israel to live together as self-governing states based on the 1967 borders’, disregards Israel’s legitimate right and legal claim to its territory including its Capital and many of Judaism’s most holy sites. It also calls for the placement of Israel into a militarily indefensible position.
Whilst it would be unlikely for Bob Brown to read and internalise a lesson from this weeks Parsha (Balak), it is far from ironic that Jews in Australia and around the world read in the Torah this week about the prophecy “For from their beginning, I see them as mountain peaks, and I behold them as hills; it is a nation that will dwell alone, and will not be reckoned among the nations (Numbers, 23:9).” The biblical story proceeds to then transform an intended curse into a blessing – “How goodly are your tents of Jacob”. The Greens can curse and deligitimise Israel as much as they like, but the only consequence will be a strengthening of the resolve of Israel to assert its soveriegn rights and deliver its vision (part of which is an environmentally sustainable economy with clean fuel, recycled waste, a low carbon footprint, high quality of life, and betterment of technology for the global benefit). As the Torah highlights, Israel will find that it dwells alone, and the forces of global isolation are certainly hard at work. However the Torah also prescribes that Israel cannot satisfactorily exist as a pariah nation – it has to make a universal contribution and transform itself into a moral beacon in order to fulfil its national destiny.
Sadly the Greens do not wish to acknowledge this. They would rather castigate Israel on the false premise of Palestinian occupation. However it is not just the Greens. Most Australian’s, inclusive of many members of the Jewish community, are not sufficiently aware of the history of 1967 to realise that the Palestinian narrative of illegal occupation is just the claim of one party to this conflict, and a claim that can be strongly challenged. That the morally bankrupt United Nations and many of the NGO entities that consistently bash Israel choose to only acknowledge the Palestinian position and reject the Israeli stance is the greatest blight on the modern historical age in which we live.
David Harris, Executive Director of the AJC provides the following information that highlights the irrefutable history of 1967 that led to the so called “occupation”:
In June 1967, there was no state of Palestine. It didn’t exist and never had. Its creation, proposed by the UN in 1947, was rejected by the Arab world because it also meant the establishment of a Jewish state alongside. The West Bank and eastern Jerusalem were in Jordanian hands. Violating solemn agreements, Jordan denied Jews access to their holiest places in eastern Jerusalem. To make matters still worse, they destroyed many of those sites.
Meanwhile, the Gaza Strip was under Egyptian control, with harsh military rule imposed on local residents.
And the Golan Heights, which were regularly used to shell Israeli communities far below, belonged to Syria.
During that era the Arab world could have created a Palestinian state in the West Bank, eastern Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip any day of the week. They didn’t. There wasn’t even discussion about it.
The 1967 boundary at the time of the war, so much in the news these days, was nothing more than an armistice line dating back to 1949 — familiarly known as the Green Line. That’s after five Arab armies attacked Israel in 1948 with the aim of destroying the embryonic Jewish state. They failed. Armistice lines were drawn, but they weren’t formal borders. They couldn’t be. The Arab world, even in defeat, refused to recognize Israel’s very right to exist.
The PLO, which supported the war effort, was established in 1964, three years before the conflict erupted. That’s important because it was created with the goal of obliterating Israel. Remember that in 1964 the only “settlements” were Israel itself.
In the weeks leading up to the Six-Day War, Egyptian and Syrian leaders repeatedly declared that war was coming and their objective was to wipe Israel off the map. There was no ambiguity. Twenty-two years after the Holocaust, another enemy spoke about the extermination of Jews. The record is well-documented.
The record is equally well-documented that Israel, in the days leading up to the war, passed word to Jordan, via the UN and United States, urging Amman to stay out of any pending conflict. Jordan’s King Hussein ignored the Israeli plea and tied his fate to Egypt and Syria. His forces were defeated by Israel, and he lost control of the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
Egypt’s President Gamal Abdel Nasser demanded that UN peacekeeping forces in the area, in place for the previous decade to prevent conflict, be removed. Shamefully, the UN complied. That left no buffer between Arab armies being mobilized and deployed and Israeli forces in a country one-fiftieth the size of Egypt — and just nine miles wide at its narrowest point.
Egypt blocked Israeli shipping lanes in the Red Sea, Israel’s only maritime access to trading routes with Asia and Africa. This step was regarded as an act of war by Jerusalem. The United States spoke about joining with other countries to break the blockade, but did not act.
After winning the war of self-defense, Israel hoped that its newly-acquired territories, seized from Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, would be the basis of a land-for-peace accord. Feelers were sent out. The formal response came on September 1, 1967, when the Arab Summit Conference famously declared in Khartoum “No peace, no recognition, no negotiations” with Israel.
Today, there are those who wish to rewrite history. They want the world to believe there was once a Palestinian state. There was not.
They want the world to believe there were fixed borders between that state and Israel. There was only an armistice line between Israel and the Jordanian-controlled West Bank and eastern Jerusalem.
They want the world to believe the 1967 war was a bellicose act by Israel. It was an act of self-defense in the face of blood-curdling threats to vanquish the Jewish state, not to mention the maritime blockade of the Straits of Tiran, the abrupt withdrawal of UN peacekeeping forces, and the redeployment of Egyptian and Syrian troops. All wars have consequences; this one was no exception. But the Arab aggressors have failed to take responsibility for the actions they instigated.
They want the world to believe post-1967 Israeli settlement-building is the key to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Six-Day War is proof positive that the core issue is, and always has been, whether the Arab world accepts the Jewish people’s right to a state of their own. If so, all other contentious issues, however difficult, have possible solutions.
And they want the world to believe the Arab world had nothing against Jews per se, only Israel, yet trampled with abandon on sites of sacred meaning to the Jewish people.
It is this history that the Greens disregard when they put their motion, possibly more arrogant than ignorant, to the upper house of the Australian Parliament. It is absolutely true that the Australian Parliament is a democratic institution that upholds the virtue of free speech. But the democrats abuse the value of this free speech by tarnishing their debate with an untruth, below which sits an agenda of existential destruction of the world’s sole Jewish state.
Readers of this blog are welcome to show examples of any other occurrence in history where a country has been attacked by uncompromising enemies, won a battle against all odds, and then been willing (let alone coerced) into returning the territory of its conquest. Such an historic anomaly is only expected of Israel.
For shame that within days of a minority interest holding the legislative balance of power that this same interest sides with an attempt to promulgate the greatest moral and political injustice of our time. The basis of the Greens view on the Israel Palestinian conflict is an historic lie, otherwise termed “illegal occupation”.
Hopefully the Australian public will lead a cry for double dissolution. In the absence of such a call the political, social and economic environment of Australia is being taken down a slippery slope from which it may take many years to recover.