Australian response to US Embassy opening in Jerusalem

May 18, 2018

Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has written to Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop to commend her decision not to send an Australian representative to the opening of the embassy of the United States of America in Jerusalem, Israel.

“ALHR has long been gravely concerned by breaches of international law occurring in Israel, Gaza and the Occupied Territories,” said ALHR President Kerry Weste.

“There is little doubt that President Donald Trump’s decision makes a two-state solution more difficult to achieve in the long term and stands as a roadblock to the Palestinian people’s right of self-determination and, importantly, to the human rights of all people who reside in the region.”

“ALHR is seriously concerned about the reports coming out of Israel that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) shot and killed 55 people and injured over 2500 others protesting on the border between Gaza and Israel. International Humanitarian Law (IHL), in particular the principles of proportionality, distinction, humanity, and military necessity are of paramount importance in situations of armed conflict. Civilians are not a target and Australia must speak out strongly against breaches of IHL when they occur and endeavor to use diplomatic pressure to ensure countries, like Israel, investigate all allegations of breaches of IHL, and minimise the harm caused to civilians during war.”

“ALHR commends and supports Australia’s decision not to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This is a decision which respects the integrity of the peace process and prioritises the fundamental human rights of all people living in Israel, Gaza and the Occupied Territories.”

 View a copy of the letter here.

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