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Penny Wong lays flowers in tribute to aid worker Zomi Frankcom who was killed in Gaza on April 1 (Facebook/Penny Wong)

Foreign Minister Penny Wong has cleared the ground for a pivotal debate on the conflict in the Middle East by suggesting Australia could recognise a Palestinian state without waiting for years of talks with Israel over a two-state solution. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Setting out a new case on a highly sensitive global question, Senator Wong said Palestinian statehood could improve the chances for peace while “building momentum” toward a two-state agreement with Israel.

But she declared that Hamas could not have any role in a future Palestinian state, that Israel had a right to defend itself against the terrorist group and that an enduring peace could only come with a two-state resolution with Israel.

“We need to build the pathway out of the endless cycle of violence,” Senator Wong said in a major speech to a security conference at the Australian National University on Tuesday night.

She noted the “widespread frustration” at the failure on all sides to achieve a two-state solution in the three decades since Palestinian and Israeli leaders agreed on the objective, adding that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to even engage on the question.

“Recognising a Palestinian state – one that can only exist side by side with a secure Israel – doesn’t just offer the Palestinian people an opportunity to realise their aspirations,” Senator Wong said.

“It also strengthens the forces for peace and undermines extremism. It undermines Hamas, Iran and Iran’s other destructive proxies in the region.

“A two-state solution is the only hope to break the endless cycle of violence.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said he told Mr Netanyahu late last week of Australia’s concern about the humanitarian consequences of a ground invasion of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians are sheltering to avoid the conflict.


‘We need to build the pathway’: Wong steps up debate on Palestinian statehood  (By David Crowe and Matthew Knott, Sydney Morning Herald)


Penny Wong suggests Australian government considering recognising Palestinian statehood (ABC News)