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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/18/14

Antagonizing Palestinians, Australia's linguistic blunder snowballs

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Bishop's and Abbot's "no change" statements tried to imply that their country's policy has not changed and that if there was a change it is a linguistic one only.

Either case the change in "terminology" serves neither Australian nor Palestinian interests. Coming ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's upcoming visit to Australia this summer, to be the first-ever sitting Israeli premier to visit Canberra, it serves only as a free-of-charge welcoming present.

However, coming on the 47th anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory in eastern Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza Strip and in 2014, which the United Nations proclaimed an International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, the Australian "change of language" was "absolutely disgraceful and shocking," according to the member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hanan Ashrawi.

Australia's change in “terminology” serves neither Australian nor Palestinian interests
Australia's change in “terminology” serves neither Australian nor Palestinian interests
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"Such inflammatory and irresponsible statements are not only in blatant violation of international law and global consensus, but are also lethal in any pursuit of peace and toxic to any attempt at enacting a global rule of law," Ashrawi was quoted as saying by the Times of Israel on June 6.

In fact, describing the Palestinian territories, eastern Jerusalem inclusive, as "occupied" is not only a Palestinian position.

The Israeli annexation of East Jerusalem has not been recognized by the international community and all 193 countries of the UN, including the U.S., refuse to have their embassies in Jerusalem because it would imply their recognition of the city as Israel's capital.

Published by The Guardian on this June 11, Ben Saul wrote: "Calling east Jerusalem 'occupied' simply recognizes the near-universal legal status quo, namely that it is not sovereign Israeli territory."

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
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