Attempt for Palestine recognition fails parliament

An attempt for federal parliament to formally recognize a Palestinian state has failed.

A Greens-backed motion was introduced to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, but parliament rejected efforts to bring on debate on statehood recognition, voting it down 80 votes to five.

Greens leader Adam Bandt said a vote for Palestinian statehood would have been a “concrete step towards peace”, after other countries have also recently recognized Palestine.

“This is not just a symbolic move, it is a critical step towards peace and towards ending the slaughter that we are seeing with the invasion of Gaza right now,” he told parliament.

“It is time for countries, including Australia, to step in and do something, and just as other countries have made it a priority to recognize the state of Palestine, so should this government today.”

Mr Bandt said Australia had a moral responsibility to recognize Palestine.

“Those values ​​of peace and security and self-determination should be enjoyed equally by Palestinians and Israelis alike,” he said.

“Hand-wringing tweets from this government are no longer good enough, it is time for this government to take action, and that can start by recognizing the state of Palestine.”

But Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts said the Greens were deliberately setting up the vote to fail, due to procedural motions in the lower house always being opposed.

Mr Watts said the Greens were using the motion as a wedge on the issue.

“Wedge politics only divides the community. We gain nothing from the Greens seeking to reproduce this conflict in our own community,” he told parliament.

“If they were sincere, the Greens would have something of substance to say about ending the cycle of violence and achieving lasting peace.”

Mr Watts indicated Palestinian statehood could form part of peace negotiations.

“A Palestinian state cannot be in a position to threaten Israel’s security, we want to see a reformed Palestinian governing authority that is committed to peace, that disavows violence,” he said.

“On the question of recognition, we have made clear that we will be guided by whether recognition will advance the cause for peace.”

Liberal MP Julian Leeser said the motion was the wrong one at the wrong time.

“This will do nothing to change the situation on the ground in the Middle East,” he said.

“It will not do anything to benefit social cohesion in this country.”

The movement comes after Israeli strikes have killed at least 21 people at a tent camp in Rafah, health authorities in Gaza say.

The breakout in conflict in the region followed Hamas attacks on Israel on October 7, which killed 1,200 people with 200 taken hostage.

In response, Israel launched air strikes and a ground invasion of Gaza that, according to the local health ministry, has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, injured more than 80,000 and displaced more than 1.7 million people.