Israeli PM on historic visit to Australia

Benjamin Netanyahu's trip is the first time a serving Israeli prime minister has visited the country.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull shake hands during their joint news conference at Kirribilli House in Sydney, Australia, February 22, 2017.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull welcomed his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday as the first Israeli prime minister to visit Australia.

Turnbull reiterated Australia's support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue.

However, he also said Australia would not support any resolutions such as the one approved by the United Nations Security Council in December calling for an end to Israeli settlement building on Palestinian lands.

The UN and most countries consider Israel's settlement buiding to be illegal and an obstacle to peace.

​"My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council, and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state," Turnbull wrote in an editorial in The Australian newspaper.

The UN resolution was approved in the final weeks of Barack Obama's administration, which broke with a long tradition of shielding Israel diplomatically when the US chose not to wield its veto power to block the resolution.

Washington's ambassador to the UN has said the United States still supports a two-state solution to the conflict, although US President Donald Trump stunned the international community at a joint news conference with Netanyahu last week when he said he is open to new ways to achieve peace.

“I’m looking at two states and one state,” Trump said. “I like the one that both parties like. I can live with either one.”

The two-state solution has long been the bedrock of the international community's policy for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians.

TRTWorld and agencies