Australian state Labor Party votes to recognize a Palestinian state

SYDNEY (JTA) — The members of Australia’s New South Wales Labor Party have voted for the recognition of a Palestinian state following a push by former Foreign Minister Bob Carr, but in a watered-down version of its original.

The resolution passed Sunday at the party’s conference in Sydney failed to follow its original call for unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state. Carr, who also has served as Labor premier in New South Wales, proposed the resolution. Party members called on the next federal Labor government to recognize Palestine as an independent state.

Following on the heels of similar resolutions in the states of Western Australia and South Australia, the vote will present a challenge for federal Labor leader Bill Shorten, who has come under pressure to confirm his stance on the matter.

The New South Wales’ Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive, Vic Alhadeff, said the resolution “is a much better outcome than what was originally proposed in the conference booklet, and we applaud the efforts by many within the Labor Party who worked hard to achieve a more balanced resolution.”

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry also issued a statement.

“Clearly, Israel still has many friends within the Australian Labor Party, and they are to be applauded for ensuring that Bob Carr’s original motion was significantly amended before it was passed,” it said. “.The amendment expressly recognizes Israel’s right to exist within secure borders. It is disturbing that the original motion moved by a former Foreign Minister of Australia was so manifestly one-sided and unfair.”

Speaking Monday on the Australian Broadcasting Corp.’s “RN Breakfast,” Shorten said any recognition of a Palestinian state must address the concerns of both sides.

“There’s two issues,” he said. “One is the legitimate aspirations, and I stress legitimate aspirations of Palestinians, to have their own state and I do support that, but also the legitimate aspirations of the people of Israel to live in secure borders.”

Shorten reiterated his support for federal Labor’s long-held position of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

“If you support a two-state solution, ultimately that includes recognition of Palestine,” Shorten said.

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