Bob Carr’s in Israel, and I thought I’d link to a few reports that are coming out of his trip. All of his statements and meetings have been measured, fair, balanced and constructive. A great trip from our foreign minister.
First, The Australian’s John Lyon on Israel’s draconian and undemocratic detention situation (via Google to avoid the Murdoch paywall):
ISRAEL has indicated it is planning to change its detention system for Palestinian children following pressure from Australia.
The Israeli government last night said it was examining a number of measures following discussions with Australian officials.
Foreign Minister Bob Carr, in Jerusalem yesterday, raised concerns about the system in which Palestinian children as young as 12 are imprisoned or kept in solitary confinement for up to 65 days. Senator Carr discussed the issue with Israel’s Defence Minister Ehud Barak.
According to a document released by Australian officials, Senator Carr “drew attention to international concerns regarding Israel’s detention of Palestinian minors”.
Jewish children have a range of protections that Palestinian children do not; for example, a Palestinian child can be held for 90 days without access to a lawyer and 188 days without charge while a Jewish child cannot be held for more than 48 hours without a lawyer.
(The obvious error, however, is that the article refers to “Jewish” children when it should say “Israeli children” and “Palestinian children”.)
Second, a post on Bob Carr’s blog:
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr today renewed calls for Palestinian and Israeli leaders to resume negotiations for an independent Palestinian state, alongside a secure Israel. [...]
“That is there can be no peace without negotiations – and the only long-term outcome is a two-state solution with agreed national borders. [...]
“I also outlined our opposition to ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.
“I emphasised to Palestinian leaders the need to prevent groups using Gaza to fire rockets into Israel. There is also a need for Hamas to accept Quartet principles including a renunciation of violence and recognition of Israel.
Thirdly, another post on Carr’s blog, a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority representatives:
I remain concerned by the lack of progress towards realising a two state solution, despite efforts to bring the two parties together, the impasse continues. Australia has continually supported a negotiated two state solution allowing a secure Israel to live alongside an independent Palestinian state. I am concerned that continuing settlement activity is counterproductive to the peace process. I will continue to make this point with the Israeli leaders. [...]
We are committed to providing over $300 million in support over five years. Of this, $120 million will go direct to the Palestinian Authority to strengthen institutions in preparation for statehood. We see this as a serious investment in the peace process. I recently announced the contribution of a further $90 million to UNRWA for education and health.
Of course, only a few days ago too, Carr pledged more money for Syrian refugees.