Julie Bishop
Julie Bishop Brenda Strong

Julie Bishop backs Israel against Obama stance

Australia has distanced itself from Barack Obama over its escalating diplomatic stoush with Israel, suggesting it would not have supported a UN resolution condemning Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Israel's building of settlements on occupied land is jeopardising Middle East peace, US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday, voicing unusually frank frustration with America's longtime ally weeks before he is due to leave office.

Last Friday Washington effectively cleared the way for a UN resolution that demanded an end to Israeli settlement building, prompting Israeli Government officials to direct harsh attacks against Mr Obama and Mr Kerry.

Israel also recalled its ambassador to New Zealand for consultations after it co-sponsored the resolution, which argued the settlements had "no legal validity and [constituted] a flagrant violation under international law".

In a statement to the ABC, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop reiterated that the Australian Government remained "firmly committed to a two-state solution, where Israel and a Palestinian state exist side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders".

"Australia urges both sides to refrain from steps that damage the prospect for peace and to resume direct negotiations for a two-state solution as soon as possible," the statement added.

Ms Bishop also noted that Australia was not currently a member of the Security Council and was not eligible to vote on the resolution, but indicated the Federal Government did not support the contentious move.

"In voting at the UN, the Coalition Government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel," the statement read.

More on this at ABC News

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