Australians for Palestine  recently issued a press release about Australian support for a Palestinian state. The release can be seen at http://www.australiansforpalestine.com. Last week Noam Chomsky visited my home town here in Adelaide, South Australia, to deliver the Edward Said Memorial lecture sponsored by the Australian Friends of Palestine Association. During the lecture Professor Chomsky talked about the change in the discourse about the Israel-Palestine conflict in the U.S.  In years gone by, according to Chomsky, lectures in the U.S. given in support of the Palestinian position were met with great hostility to the point of death threats and speakers having to be escorted by police or security.  But now things have changed. Chomsky related  that now there is hardly one heckler at such events and auditoriums are packed out. Whether this is evidence of a real change in western attitudes remains to be seen. Below is the press release issued by Australians for Palestine in Melbourne.

Press Release No 33 – 8  November 2011

Three in five Australians believe the United Nations should now recongise Palestine as one of its member states according to a poll conducted by Roy Morgan Research Pty Ltd. The results are part of an independent national poll done by the respected Morgan Research company.

“This is an outstanding result as it reflects the Australian people’s overwhelming support for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians to be freed from the 40 plus years of brutal occupation” said Ms Samah Sabawi, Public Advocate, Australians for Palestine.

The poll also found that 63 percent of Australians do not support Israeli settlers building homes on occupied Palestinian land.

“Settlement building is without doubt the single biggest obstacle to peace. Israel continues to build and expand these settlements in direct violation of International Law.” said Ms Sabawi.

With a vote on Palestine due at the United Nations before the end of November, the support for an Australian ‘yes’ vote was more than three times that of a ‘no’ vote.

The Morgan poll asked respondents: “In order for Palestinians to be recognised as a full member state of the United Nations, existing member Nations must enter a vote ‘yes’, ‘no’ or abstain from voting. In your opinion, how should Australia vote?” A majority – 51 percent – agreed Australia should vote ‘yes’, whilst only 15 percent said ‘no’. Twenty percent believed that Australia should abstain from voting.

“The strong support for a ‘yes’ vote demonstrates that Australian voters support the bid by Palestine. This should encourage the Labor Government, led by Prime Minister Gillard, to position itself in-line with public opinion and on the right side of history” concluded Ms Sabawi.

As a collective of broad based advocacy groups in Australia, we ask that the Government heed the call of the public and condemn the illegal settlements being constructed by Israel and support the rights of the Palestinians.

For comment and further detail, please contact Moammar Mashni (AFP): 0419 999 773.

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