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Australia opens itself open to ridicule about its policy on East Jerusalem

It is bad enough that Australia is lead by a PM who is increasingly the subject of derision (even the Washington Post had a headline article about the man recently describing him as one of Australia's worst PMs) but with a cabinet of people such as his Foreign Minister and Attorney-General, anything is likely to be said or done.  Take today's policy pronouncement on Australia's position on East Jerusalem as but one example
Haaretz reports:

"The Australian government will no longer refer to East Jerusalem as an occupied territory, it emerged Wednesday in a statement released by Attorney-General George Brandeis after a Senate Estimates hearing. This constitutes a dramatic shift in Australian policy on Israel since 1967.

During the hearing, which focused on the country's foreign policy in the Middle East, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon called East Jerusalem occupied territory several times. Brandeis, who was responding to questions during the hearing, rejected use of the term "occupied" and said such a label predetermines an issue that is subject to Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

"The tendentious description that Senator Rhiannon is using is not the descriptor that the government uses,'' he said. ''I don't profess [a] view on this matter. I'm merely correcting the use of a term."

Several senators subsequently demanded to know what the government's position on East Jerusalem is, but Brandeis refused to elaborate. However, after several hours, Brandeis recited a written statement indicating it does not define East Jerusalem as occupied.

Drafted in coordination with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and departmental head Peter Varghese, the statement said that ''The description of East Jerusalem as 'Occupied East Jerusalem' is a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful.''

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