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Australia and Israel: concerning Trump and Obama honouring predecessors' commitments

By David Singer - posted Tuesday, 7 February 2017


A virtual media storm has erupted at the suggestion that President Trump might renege on President Obama's agreement to take up to 2000 refugees off Australia's hands presently languishing on Manus Island and Nauru ("Obama-Australia Commitment")

The Obama-Australia Commitment was made in the dying days of Obama's eight years reign as President in November 2016.

Yet the same media remained silent for the last eight years as President Obama reneged on President Bush's agreement supporting Israel's unilateral disengagement from Gaza and part of the West Bank, as well as advancing President Bush's Roadmap designed to end the 80 years long unresolved Jewish- Arab conflict ("Bush-Israel Commitment").

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The differences between the Obama-Australia Commitment and the Bush-Israel Commitment could not be starker for the following reasons:

1. Search as you might - you cannot find what the Obama-Australia Commitment specifically states.

Dara Lind sums up this "agreement" as follows:

The details of the agreement were a little fuzzy. It wasn't clear how many refugees the US would end up taking, and there was some confusion about what role the UN High Commissioner for Refugees would play in the process. While Australia's top immigration official, Michael Pezzullo, called the deal "an agreement entered into through diplomatic means," it's not clear whether a text was ever actually signed.

On the other hand the Bush-Israel Commitment comprises a letter from President Bush to Ariel Sharon dated 14 April 2004 – which can be read at the following link:

https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/news/releases/2004/04/20040414-3.html

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2. There is a strong suggestion that the Obama-Australia Commitment was concluded in some sleazy backroom deal between the Australian Embassy in Washington and the US State Department that would see refugees from Central America presently housed in camps in Costa Rica being resettled in Australia.

On the other hand the Bush-Israel Commitment was openly discussed in the US Congress and endorsed in the House – 407 votes to 9 – and in the Senate – 95 votes to 3.

Obama had no qualms in sticking it to his own Democratic Congressional colleagues – including Hillary Clinton – voting in favour then as a Senator – by ignoring their almost unanimous support for the Bush-Israel Commitment.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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