On 8 September Foreign Minister Liberman and I had a warm and constructive telephone conversation regarding his possible visit to Australia, as well as discussing a range of other issues of mutual interest. Minister Liberman expressed a strong desire to visit Australia, and I look forward to welcoming him at the earliest opportunity.

I took the opportunity to inform Foreign Minister Liberman that the Australian Government is deeply concerned by reports that Israel has declared 1000 acres of West Bank land south of Bethlehem as state land.

The expropriation undermines prospects for a negotiated two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side-by-side in peace and security, within internationally recognised borders – a goal to which Australia remains committed. 

Australia calls on Israel to reconsider the decision. The announcement is unhelpful so soon after the Gaza conflict. The priority for all parties must now be on working through the terms laid out in the ceasefire agreement. 

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