The Members of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Palestine express their sincere gratitude to their Palestinian hosts for their hospitality during the period 23 April to 30 April.
The visit of the cross party Parliamentary Delegation enabled direct communication with a variety of NGOs, businesses, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council led by Dr Nabil Shaath, and Government Ministers including Prime Minister H.E. Dr Rami Hamdallah and Foreign Minister H.E. Dr Riyad Malki.
More importantly, this delegation was able to experience, in some limited way, the realities of life within the Palestinian Occupied Territories, in particular constraints on movement, access to water for business, agricultural and domestic use, access to land for development, whether for commercial, residential or industrial uses, and the encroachment of settlements upon Palestinian land, despite the agreements reached in the Oslo accords.
The delegation has been impressed by the professionalism and maturity of Palestinian Civil society, indeed at all levels the presentations to the delegation have emphasised a consistent desire for peace in a pluralistic democratic society, and implementation of the peace accord so that the Palestinian State may deliver on behalf of the Palestinian people a future where a Palestinian child has freedom of movement within the state, and internationally, access to water, education, healthcare and employment, all without interference from occupation or control from any third party state.
The delegation urges the implementation of the two state solution, before the process of settlement encroachment makes any Israeli disengagement from the occupied territories an impossibility, or hollow gesture. A State of Palestine must have access to water, freedom of movement within its territory and freedom of encroachment from settlements.
The delegation will strive to ensure that the bipartisan approach within Australian politics continues to support the implementation of the two state solution, with Australian recognition of the Palestinian State, so that the Middle East Peace process can be realised with a strong independent Palestine working in peace with its neighbour Israel in economic and strategic partnership.
Members of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation: Mark Coulton MP, Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives Ross Hart MP, Member for Bass Gavin Marshall MP, Senator for Victoria Ken O’Dowd, Member for Flynn Senator Lisa Singh, Senator for Tasmania Maria Vamvakinou MP, Co-chair, Parliamentary Friends of Palestine
Pictured above - L-R: Ken O'Dowd MP; Senator Lisa Singh; Mark Coulton MP; Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of Palestine; Maria Vamvakinou MP; Ross Hart MP; with Izzat Salah Abdulhadi, Ambassador of the State of Palestine.