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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 6/18/14

Antagonizing Palestinians, Australia's linguistic blunder snowballs

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"Declaring that east Jerusalem will not be described as 'occupied' implies that Australia rejects the application of international humanitarian law " The term "occupation" is therefore not pejorative or judgmental." Saul said, adding that "Australia's new view " corrodes the international rule of law and violates Australia's international law obligations" in accordance with the Geneva conventions to which both Australia and Israel are signatories.

The UN Security Council Resolution 478 on August 20, 1980, censured "in the strongest terms the enactment by Israel of the 'basic law' on Jerusalem," affirmed "that the enactment of the 'basic law' by Israel constitutes a violation of international law" and determined "that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the recent 'basic law' on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith."

Ninety UNSC resolutions, let alone 40 others vetoed by the U.S., rule accordingly. Now Australia is the only other nation that joins and supports Israel in its violation of all these resolutions. Aside from Israel, it is also the only nation to change its language on the PalestinianOccupiedTerritories.

Australian linguistics in context

The Palestinian people are not known for their short memory. They view the Australian government's "terminological clarification" in the context of the country's recent pro-Israel changes of policy as well as in Australia's historical anti-Palestinian policies.

Last month, Ambassador Sharma met in East Jerusalem with the Israeli Minister of Housing Uri Ariel, who is in charge of the illegal construction of the colonial settlements in the OPT.

In January this year, while on an official visit to Israel, Foreign Minister Bishop told the Times of Israel that she isn't convinced that Israeli construction of illegal settlements in OPT is a violation of international law, and called international boycotts of these settlements "anti-Semitic" and "hypocritical beyond belief".

Last November, Australia failed to join 158 nations who supported a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an end to Israeli settlements or to join 160 countries that supported another resolution calling on Israel to "comply scrupulously" with the 1949 Geneva Conventions.

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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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