Australian Former Judges, MPs, Clergy Oppose Netanyahu Visit

  • Protests planned in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra during trip
  • Netanyahu will be first sitting Israeli PM to visit Australia

A group of more than 60 prominent Australians signed a statement denouncing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the country this week, saying that his policies are inconsistent with the nation’s values and beliefs.

Netanyahu’s arrival in Australia on Wednesday will mark the nation’s first visit by a sitting Israeli prime minister. It also follows Netanyahu’s visit last week to the U.S., where U.S. President Donald Trump said he would be open to a Mideast peace agreement that doesn’t include separate states for Israel and Palestinians.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that he still supports a two-state solution.

Former parliamentarians, senior legal professionals and clergy signed the statement released Sunday by the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, a group that describes itself as a national coalition of organizations and individuals seeking to influence Australia’s public policy on Palestine and Israel. Signatories include businesswoman Janet Holmes a Court, former Solicitor General Gavan Griffith and former Federal Court judge Murray Rutledge Wilcox.

“It is time for the suffering of the Palestinian people to stop and for Australia to take a more balanced role in supporting the application of international law and not supporting Mr. Netanyahu and his policies,” they wrote in the statement.

The statement was released ahead of planned protests in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney to coincide with the leader’s visit.

In addition to meeting with Turnbull, Netanyahu is expected to speak with opposition leader Bill Shorten and New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian during his visit.

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