Australia would not have supported a UN resolution condemning Israel’s settlements program in the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Julie Bishop has indicated.
The foreign affairs minister said in a statement Australia did not support “one-sided resolutions targeting Israel”, the ABC reported.
The resolution was co-sponsored by New Zealand, which the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said was tantamount to a “declaration of war”.
“If you continue to promote this resolution, from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences,” Netanyahu reportedly told New Zealand’s foreign affairs minister, Murray McCully.
But McCully, insisted: “This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward.”
The US, which has a veto in the UN security council, abstained from the vote, drawing stinging criticism from the Netanyahu government, which accused Barack Obama of orchestrating the vote, a claim the US government strongly denies.
Australia is not currently a member of the UN security council and so was not eligible to vote on the resolution but Bishop indicated the federal government would not have taken the same line as its New Zealand counterpart.
“In voting at the UN, the Coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel,” the statement read.
Bishop said the Australian government remained “firmly committed to a two-state solution, where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side by side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders”.
“Australia urges both sides to refrain from steps that damage the prospect for peace and to resume direct negotiations for a two-state solution as soon as possible,” the statement said.
Netanyahu has been invited to visit Australia in the new year and would become the first Israeli prime minister to do so. Issuing the invitation in September, when she was in Israel, Bishop said the Australian public would “warmly embrace you, welcome you”.
The Labor leader, Bill Shorten, has been in Israel in the past week, where he described Netanyahu as “a good friend of Australia”.
On Thursday the former Labor foreign affairs minister Bob Carr sounded a dissenting note by saying the election of Donald Trump could “unleash Netanyahu to approve a rash of new settlements and even annex the West Bank … that would destroy a two-state solution”, the Australian reported.