Backing Israel, Australia Signals Would Not Have Supported UN Settlement Vote

'In voting at the UN, the coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel,' Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, (center) at a foreign ministers meeting in Sydney in November 2016.
DAVID GRAY/REUTERS

Australia broke with its regional partner New Zealand on Thursday, indicating that it would not have voted in favor of last week’s UN Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s construction of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

"In voting at the UN, the coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel," Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said in a statement on Thursday, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.

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However, she stressed that Australia was not currently a member of the Security Council and therefore had not been eligible to vote on the resolution. Australia has previously been a council member.

Bishop urged both sides to refrain from steps that damage the prospect for peace and to "resume direct negotiations for a two-state solution as soon as possible."

Her position was contradicted by the acting leader of the opposition, Chris Bowen, who said that settlement building on occupied Palestinian land undermined a two-state solution and was "a roadblock to peace."

The Labor Party, he added, had long supported, and continued to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

New Zealand, currently a member of the Security Council, was one of the four countries that sponsored the resolution. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recalled the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand for consultations shortly after the vote.