Australian PM condemns ‘one-sided’ UN settlement resolution

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull broke with much of the international community on Friday, attacking last week’s United Nations Security Council Resolution as “one-sided” and “deeply unsettling.”

Turnbull, speaking at a menorah-lighting ceremony at Sydney’s Central Synagogue, said that “Australia stands with Israel. We support Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East,” The Australian Jewish News reported.

Turnbull’s comments come after his foreign minister said Thursday Australia would likely have voted against United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlements.

The resolution determined that Israel’s establishment of settlements anywhere outside the pre-1967 lines “has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” The resolution did not distinguish between the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

On Thursday, the British government, which voted for the resolution, criticized US Secretary of State John Kerry’s subsequent speech for focusing on Israeli settlements and commenting negatively on the makeup of the Israeli cabinet. A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said it was inappropriate of Kerry to attack the makeup of the democratically elected Israeli government. “We do not … believe that the way to negotiate peace is by focusing on only one issue, in this case the construction of settlements, when clearly the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is so deeply complex,” the spokesman said. “And we do not believe that it is appropriate to attack the composition of the democratically elected government of an ally.” The British government, the spokesman added, “believes that negotiations will only succeed when they are conducted between the two parties supported by the international community.”

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