Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: Haim Zach/GPO

Joint Statement by Australian and Israeli PMs

By Sol SalbeMiddle East News Service • 24 February 2017

A few notes on the joint statement by Australian Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Benjamin Netanyahu.

1) “Australia re‐affirmed its commitment to Israel’s right to exist, as the nation‐state of the Jewish people, in peace within secure borders…” 
To re-affirm something you need to have affirmed it at least once before. When did Australia recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people? Did it take a Cabinet meeting, does it mean that a future Labor government is committed to it? [It is possible that I’ve missed it, so if anyone points me in the right direction, I’d be obliged to correct the record here. If not then the untruth/slight of hand needs to exposed.

2) “Both countries re‐stated their support for a directly negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia affirmed its support for a two‐state solution.” 
Why does Australia need to affirm a support for a two-state solution, when Israel obviously doesn’t?

3) “Leaders committed to explore opportunities for future collaboration in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and oil and gas. The two leaders also agreed to promote collaboration in the field of environmental protection, including sharing of knowledge and experience between both countries.” 
Highlighting this is enough.

4) “Australia and Israel recognise the historical significance of the Battle of Beer Sheva as a foundation stone for the relationship between the two countries.” 
Yep, Australian troops capturing a town without a single Hebrew speaker or a Jew set the foundation stone for a friendship with a country declaring its independence 30 years later.


The Official Statement:

Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Benjamin Netanyahu have a joint statement following their talks in Sydney.

The statement covered Australia’s commitment to Israel’s right to exist, Iran, the fight against terrorism, cybersecurity, expansion of trade, a Double Taxation agreement, cooperation in innovation, water, agriculture and energy, the commemoration of the Battle of Beer Sheva and the Australia Jewish community.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull Photo: Haim Zach/GPO

The full text:

1. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Sydney on 22 February 2016, during the first visit by an Israeli Head of Government to Australia. Leaders welcomed the opportunity of the visit to reaffirm the strength of the relationship and its importance to both countries. The friendship between Israel and Australia dates back to Israel’s earliest days, and is anchored in our shared values, commitment to democracy and mutual interest in a rules‐based international system. Both leaders committed to invigorate the relationship to maximise the opportunities it presents and to enable it to meet today’s challenges.

2. Australia re‐affirmed its commitment to Israel’s right to exist, as the nation‐state of the Jewish people, in peace within secure borders, and its steadfast opposition to attempts to undermine Israel’s legitimacy. Israel thanked Australia for its consistent support in this regard. Both countries re‐stated their support for a directly negotiated peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Australia affirmed its support for a two‐state solution.

3. Australia and Israel remain committed to a stable and secure Middle East. Leaders discussed current security challenges in the Middle East, including terrorism. Both countries agreed that Iran must fully implement its obligations under UN Security Council resolutions, and expressed concern about Iran’s ballistic missile program. They also expressed concern over Iran’s support inter alia for Hizballah and the threat Hizballah poses to regional security. Israel welcomed Australia’s ongoing military contribution to stabilisation efforts in the region, including the anti‐ISIL coalition, the UN Truce Supervision Organisation, and Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai. Leaders agreed to maintain and to enhance close coordination and dialogue in the defence and security spheres.

4. Both sides reiterated their strong common resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the financing, supporting, harbouring, training and equipping of terrorists. Both sides emphasised the importance of strengthening bilateral, regional and international cooperation required to meet this challenge; and reaffirmed that violent extremism constitutes a serious common concern for both states.

5. Australia and Israel agreed to explore opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the field of cyber as well as promote global cybersecurity efforts that enhance an open, free and secure Internet. Leaders noted the importance of cyber capability in ensuring the resilience of their national security systems, as well as the opportunities it offers in the commercial context, and expressed their intention to enhance dialogue between their respective government and private sectors.

6. Both sides affirmed the importance of bilateral defence cooperation in areas of mutual benefit. They also agreed to review opportunities to enhance exchanges between the defence authorities of the two countries.

7. Leaders committed to support the expansion of trade, investment and commercial links between Australia and Israel, for their mutual benefit and prosperity. Leaders welcomed the signature of a bilateral Air Services Agreement facilitating enhanced air links between our countries. They also welcomed the signing of an MOU between airline companies from both countries, which will enhance connectivity between Australia and Israel, expanding business and tourism links. They resolved to work towards concluding a Double Taxation Agreement which would remove tax impediments to bilateral economic activity and enhance the integrity of our respective tax systems. They welcomed the success of the Working Holiday Visa arrangement in promoting greater tourism flows.

8. Recognising that productivity and innovation are national priorities of both countries, leaders vowed to strengthen linkages in this area. Israel welcomed the establishment of Australia’s Landing Pad in Israel, intended to facilitate Australian entrepreneurs accessing Israel’s high‐tech economy.

9. Leaders welcomed the signature of an Agreement on Bilateral Cooperation in Technological Innovation and Research and Development as a further enabler, and committed to negotiations on an Agreement on Science and Technology Cooperation. Leaders also committed to strengthen ties on education and innovation, including through possible teacher, academic and entrepreneur exchanges, to build science, technology, engineering and mathematical capabilities and foster a collaborative culture of innovation.

10. Leaders committed to explore opportunities for future collaboration in the areas of agriculture, water, energy and oil and gas. The two leaders also agreed to promote collaboration in the field of environmental protection, including sharing of knowledge and experience between both countries. To this end, the Australian Minister for the Environment and Energy will visit Israel in the first half of 2017.

11. Australia and Israel recognise the historical significance of the Battle of Beer Sheva as a foundation stone for the relationship between the two countries. Leaders committed to host a major commemoration in Israel, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Battle, in October 2017.

12. Leaders affirmed the importance of the role played by Australia’s Jewish community in underpinning and giving vitality to the relationship, and in the major contribution it has made to all sectors of Australian life.

13. This joint declaration reflects the mutual commitment of Australia and Israel to their deep friendship, and their determination to elevate their bilateral cooperation for the benefit of their two countries. Towards this end, Prime Minister Netanyahu invited Prime Minister Turnbull to visit Israel at the earliest opportunity.