Australian lesson for US

For the past six years, Israel's government has had to manoeuvre round the fact that its most powerful ally is run by a man who, while claiming to "have Israel's back", loses no opportunity to stick the knife into it.

Last week, this dismal history reached a new low when the Obama administration declared it would recognise the new "unity" government in which the Palestinian Authority has allied itself with Hamas.

The US has said it would continue to fund the PA, even though Congress bans US aid to any Palestinian administration controlled or influenced by Hamas. Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas thinks he has got round this through structuring his administration in a way that some American observers claim has Obama's fingerprints all over it.

Hamas has declared it will not renounce violence, recognise Israel or honour past agreements, in direct contradiction of Abbas's claim that the new administration would do so.

Obama’s recognition of the 'unity' government is no surprise

That means the supposedly moderate, Israel-recognising and peace-loving Abbas has allied himself with people who will not stop trying to murder Israelis and are pledged to wipe out not only Israel, but every Jew on this earth.

The deal means that the US will now be indirectly funding a terrorist body, Hamas, which openly promotes another Jewish genocide.

Recognising the Hamas/Fatah hydra serves one purpose only: to legitimise terrorist mass murderers - who are also currently in league with a country, Iran, that is at war with the US - and thus strengthen them against their potential victims.

A disgusting move, but one that should not surprise anyone who has followed the double standard by which the Obama administration gives a free pass to Abbas for inciting terror and anti-Jewish hatred, while blaming Israel for building houses in areas which it was always understood would remain under its control in any final agreement.

As it happens, at almost the very moment that the US was sliding deeper into the moral sewer, a government on the other side of the world suddenly shocked the Palestinians by standing up publicly for truth and justice.

The Australian Attorney-General, George Brandis, announced that his country would no longer refer to east Jerusalem as "occupied". It was, he said, "a term freighted with pejorative implications, which is neither appropriate nor useful."

This followed equally striking remarks last January by Australia's Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, in which she questioned why Jewish settlements in the disputed territories were described as "illegal" when she could see nothing in international law to justify such a claim.

The mendacious charge that Israel is in "illegal occupation" of east Jerusalem and the territories is constantly levelled by the UK and European governments (the US uses a more weaselly form of words. It underpins the equally mendacious and poisonous suggestion that Israelis have no right to live in these areas).

This in turn has fed the monstrous campaign against Israel, which has seen it demonised and delegitimised for exercising its legal rights to land it is fully entitled to settle but which Arab propaganda has falsely persuaded the West (including many Jews) belongs en bloc to the Palestinians.

Now the Australians have raised the banner of truth, what's needed is for other friendly leaders to follow suit by stating loud and clear that Israel stands for law, justice and historical reality – and put Obama to shame.

Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times.

    Last updated: 12:44pm, June 12 2014