Following their visit to Singapore, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara arrived in Australia and met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, who told his guests he would never to support United Nations’ “one-sided resolutions” that attack Israeli settlement building in Judea and Samaria. But he insisted, nevertheless, that Australia has always supported a two-state solution.
Netanyahu, who is the first Israeli prime minister to visit down under, told reporters: “The first thing I should say is G’day mate” Thankfully he said nothing about putting a shrimp on the barbie, neither did he ask, “You call this a knife? This is a knife.”
The Israeli PM invited his host to visit Israel in October, when the Jewish State will commemorate 100 years since the Battle of Beersheba, in which the Australian 4th Light Horse Brigade launched its famous mounted charge.
And, speaking of liberating Palestine from the Turks in 1917, the conversation quickly glided to which binary number should define the peace solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. According to The Australian, Netanyahu attacked the views of former Labor prime ministers Kevin Rudd and Bob Hawke, who advocate recognizing a Palestinian state.
“What kind of state will it be that they are advocating?” Netanyahu asked his guest. “A state that calls for Israel’s destruction? A state whose territory will be used immediately for radical Islam?”
Turnbull, for his part, stressed that whatever the number of states in the area prevails, “It needs to be resolved by direct negotiations between the parties and we certainly encourage that.” He added, “We do not support one-sided resolutions which condemn or criticize Israel.”
Although Netanyahu was not prepared to use the numbers one or two in his statements, he said he did not want two million new Arab citizens of Israel, nor was he interested in governing them in any other fashion. “I want them to have all the freedoms to govern themselves but none of the powers to threaten us,” he said. “Let them govern themselves, but not have the military and physical power to threaten the state of Israel.”
In Netanyahu’s opinion, the conflict is not about how many states there are, but would the Arabs ever recognize that one of those states is Jewish. “The core of the conflict between us and the Palestinians is their persistent refusal to recognize a Jewish state in any boundary,” he said, promising that ” once they recognize a Jewish state, once they recognize the permanence of Israel and the right of Israel to be there as the nation state of the Jewish people, in our ancestral homeland … everything else will fall in place.”
The Prime Minister will meet on Wednesday with Israeli and Australian business people, then attend a large event with Australian Jewish community leaders at the Great Synagogue in Sydney.