AUSTRALIAN JEWISH NEWS: “PA to Australia – recognise Palestine” 23Dec10 December 24, 2010

by Naomi Levin  -  The Australian Jewish News – 23 December 2010

A SENIOR Palestinian leader has called on Australia to recognise a sovereign state of Palestine.

Nabil Shaath, the former Palestinian foreign minister, requested Australia follow Brazil, Argentina and several other countries in extending full diplomatic recognition to a Palestinian state, despite the absence of a peace accord.

But Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd  insisted that the peace process was a “step-by-step” prospect, adding that Australia was not yet prepared to address Palestinian statehood.

Shaath made his request to a group of federal parliamentarians in Ramallah during last week’s Australia-Israel Leadership Forum.

“We have complaints about your political position,” Shaath told the Australian delegation. “It is too close to the Americans, particularly under the Bush administration.”

But he doused rumours the Palestinian Authority was gearing up to unilaterally declare a state, saying it had already done so decades ago.

“We are not asking to redeclare it [a state], we are asking countries that did not recognise us to do so now,” Shaath, a lead negotiator in peace talks over the years, said.

“That support creates hope for our people,” he said. “The only little smile I saw on Palestinian people’s faces in the past few weeks was the recognition of Brazil and Argentina.”

But it seems there is a long way to go before his people can live peacefully side-by-side with Israel.

Asked by Senator Scott Ryan to explain why the Palestinian people use the local media to spread hate, Palestinian Legislative Council member Qays Abdul-Karim Khaled responded with confusion.

“I do not think anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism is the correct depiction [of Palestinian media],” he responded to the Liberal senator, adding, “We do have Palestinian people who are not ready to recognise the State of Israel.”

Khaled pointed out it is against Palestinian laws to be racist.“I don’t think there is any quantity of anti-Semitism or anti-Judaism in Palestinian ranks.”

Questioned further by former top military lawyer and now Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture Mike Kelly about delegitimisation of Israel in the Palestinian media, Khaled responded: “I don’t have any idea. I’ve never watched that. This could have been on al-Manar. This is not Palestinian, this is Hezbollah.”

It is a statement that stands in direct contrast to Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reporting, which recently provided information about a song being broadcast on the official Palestinian Authority TV station calling for jihad against the Israeli “oppressors”.

PMW has previously reported on Palestinian media promoting martyrdom against Israel, showing maps excluding the Jewish State altogether and calling Jewish history false.

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