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June 6, 2014 10:37 am

Australia Says Eastern Jerusalem is Not ‘Occupied’

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Jerusalem. Photo: Berthold Werner. The Australian government has stopped using the term “occupied” when referring to eastern Jerusalem, Australian media outlets reported on Thursday.

In a statement released on Thursday, Australian Attorney-General George Brandis, speaking for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, said, “Australia supports a peaceful solution to the dispute between Israel and the Palestinian people, which recognizes the right of Israel to exist peacefully within secure borders and also recognizes the aspiration to statehood of the Palestinian people. The description of areas which are subject to negotiations in the course of the peace process by reference to historical events is unhelpful.”

“The description of east Jerusalem as ‘occupied east Jerusalem’ is a term freighted with pejorative implications which is neither appropriate nor useful. It should not and will not be the practice of the Australian government to describe areas of negotiation in such judgmental language,” the statement added.

The statement was made after Brandis caused a stir at a Senate Estimates hearing on Wednesday when he said that no Australian government “acknowledges or accepts” the use of the term “occupied.”

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Brandis’s words were prompted by Senator Lee Rhiannon’s repeated references during questioning to ”occupied east Jerusalem.”

Brandis responded to Rhiannon, saying, “The tendentious description that Senator Rhiannon is using… is not the descriptor that the government uses. I don’t profess view on this matter. I’m merely correcting the use of a term… by Senator Rhiannon which prejudges the issue about which she inquires.”

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