SYDNEY (JTA) — Indigenous people in Australia have launched an Israel support group in a bid to counter the growing move in the Labor Party to recognize a Palestinian state and to maintain the country’s bipartisan support for Israel.
Indigenous Friends of Israel is concerned that Labor is “going down a dangerous path” in its attempt to get individual states and federal endorsement of a Palestinian state while Palestinian leaders support terrorism and do not accept Israel’s right to exist, according to the group’s spokesman, Munganbana Norman Miller.
“I support a two-state solution and Israel has offered it in 1947, 2000, 2008 and 2014, but Arab leadership including Yasser Arafat and current Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas have rejected it,” Miller said Thursday from the north Queensland city of Cairns, one of the higher population areas for Indigenous people. “Also Hamas, who are in control of Gaza, have vowed to annihilate Israel and drive every Jew into the sea. It is a terrorist organization, recognized as such by the Australian and other governments.”
He also said: “At this stage there is no viable Palestinian state until the governments of the West Bank and Gaza sort out their difficulties. Who will the Labor Party and possibly Labor in government recognize?”
Miller told JTA that a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state is likely to further discourage the Palestinians from coming to peace talks, which he said they have already shown great reluctance to do.
He said a future Palestinian state, which could require land swaps to be viable, “needs to recognize Israel as a Jewish state with secure borders and call off terrorism, including spending millions of overseas aid money on payments to the families of terrorists and promoting hatred of Jews in its schoolchildren.”
“It is simply untrue to maintain that Israel is an apartheid state,” Miller added. “As Indigenous people, we know what apartheid is. Israel is a beacon of democracy in the Middle East and has Arab members of the Knesset and has Arabs living peacefully and working in all walks of life enjoying their democratic freedoms.”