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Benjamin Netanyahu expected to face protests in Australia

Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu give a joint news conference in the White House on 15 February in which Trump said ‘I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like’. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/APDonald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu give a joint news conference in the White House on 15 February in which Trump said ‘I’m looking at two-state and one-state and I like the one that both parties like’. Photograph: Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is expected to be greeted with protests during his historic visit to Australia this week.

It’s the first visit to Australia by a serving Israeli prime minister and follows Netanyahu’s meeting with the US president, Donald Trump last week.

During that visit, Trump dropped a two-decade US commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel as part of a permanent Middle East peace agreement.

More than 60 prominent Australians, including former Labor politicians, senior legal professionals and clergy, have signed a statement opposing Netanyahu’s visit because of his government’s policies towards Palestinians.

“It is time for the suffering of the Palestinian people to stop and for Australia to take a more balanced role in supporting the application of international law and not supporting Mr Netanyahu and his policies,” they write.

Protests are planned in Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney after Netanyahu arrives on Wednesday.

Israel’s recent controversial push to expand Jewish settlements on land it occupies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are likely to feature in talks between the Australian prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, and the Israeli leader.

Turnbull says his government’s position in support of a two-state solution has not changed.

They’re also likely to discuss cyber security and economic issues.

During the visit, Netanyahu is expected to also meet the federal opposition leader, Bill Shorten, and the New South Wales premier, Gladys Berejiklian, and attend community functions.

Shorten is facing mounting pressure from within his own Labor party to commit the ALP to the diplomatic recognition of Palestine.

One Labor figure told Guardian Australia last week that it was fortunate the visit was happening while parliament was not sitting, because some MPs might have boycotted Netanyahu’s address.

A spokesman for the shadow foreign affairs minister, Penny Wong, said: “Labor has long supported, and continues to support, a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“We support Israel’s right to exist within secure and recognised boundaries and the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. A just two-state resolution will require recognising the right of both the Israeli and Palestinian peoples to live in peace and security.”

Netanyahu originally planned to visit Australia in mid-2014 but postponed the trip.

This article was first and originally published in theguardian.

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