Australian opposition's No. 2 accuses gov't of abandoning Israel

Australian oppositions

julie bishop 248.88 (photo credit: )
julie bishop 248.88
(photo credit: )
Australia's deputy opposition leader has accused the prime minister of abandoning the country's principled support for Israel at the United Nations in an attempt to win a seat on the Security Council. In a withering attack in Federal Parliament on Thursday,the Liberal Party's Julie Bishop accused Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Labor government of "overturning Australia's longstanding bipartisan policy of refusing to support one-sided resolutions against Israel." Bishop's remarks come on the heels of the Labor government's November 12 decision to support a resolution in the UN's Third Committee on the right of the Palestinians to self-determination, which Bishop described as "inflammatory and counterproductive" because it made "no reference to the right of the State of Israel to exist." Australia's decision to support the resolution prompted Jewish leaders last week to write letters to Rudd and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith saying they were "disappointed" by Australia's decision. "It has not been the traditional practice of Australian governments to adopt or endorse some of the one-sided resolutions against Israel that now come before the United Nations," Bishop stated. "This government has now voted in favor of three of these resolutions," she said, speculating that it is related to the prime minister's "personal crusade" to secure a seat on the Security Council. "It is a slippery slope," she added. "If some principles are compromised, where will this government stop?" Bishop's Liberal Party was one of Israel's staunchest allies at the United Nations during its 11-year on rule between 1996 and 2007 under John Howard.