The Australian government on Thursday very publicly rejected labeling the eastern half of Jerusalem as “occupied,” even though the Palestinians claim the area as their future capital and Israel refuses to relinquish it.
Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has for years made it clear that she does not support the popular, anti-Israel terminology that defines the Middle East peace process.
Earlier this year, Bishop insisted it was wrong to call Jewish settlements “illegal,” and late last year she demanded the United Nations take a more balanced approach to the conflict and stop bashing Israel as every perceived opportunity.
In remarks cited by The Sydney Morning Herald, Attorney General George Brandis, speaking on behalf of Bishop, said that the “description of East Jerusalem as ‘Occupied East Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.”
Bishop’s opponents in the Australian parliament were outraged, noting that even Israel’s greatest ally, the United States, views eastern Jerusalem as occupied territory.