World Bulletin/News Desk
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry summoned on Sunday Australian Representative in Ramallah Thomas Wilson to clarify a recent decision by the Australian government to stop using the term "occupied" when referring to East Jerusalem.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told reporters on Sunday he expressed deep concern to Wilson, whom he has met with earlier on Sunday, over a speech by Australia's Attorney-General George Brandis a few days ago before his country's parliament saying the omitted term was "neither appropriate nor useful."
"We consider [Brandis'] statements a significant change in Australia's stance," al-Maliki said. He, however, maintained that Wilson said during the meeting that the decision will not change Australia's official position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
"We demanded a clear, written clarification to be studied before taking the matter to the Arab League," he added.
Al-Malki went on to say that he met with Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi on Saturday and discussed Australia's decision, adding that the situation will be reviewed during next week's Arab League Foreign Ministers' meeting in Jeddah.
The recent decision by the Australian government marked a radical change in Australian policy on the occupied territory since Israel's capture of East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East war – a move still unrecognized by much of the international community.
In an unprecedented move last month, the Australian ambassador to Tel Aviv Dave Sharma met with Israeli Housing Minister Uri Ariel in his office in East Jerusalem.
The move angered the Palestinian government, where an advisor to al-Maliki said the meeting was a "blatant violation of international law and a direct [Australian] support for the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories."
Brandis said in his statement, cited by the Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald, said that the ''the description of East Jerusalem as 'Occupied East Jerusalem' is a term freighted with pejorative implications."
International law considers the West Bank and East Jerusalem occupied territories taken by Israel in 1967, viewing all Jewish settlement building on the land as illegitimate.
Last Mod: 08 Haziran 2014, 17:27