Prime Minister Anthony Albanese hits hack after Karl Stefanovic’s bizarre Palestine question

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Anthony Albanese has hit back at Karl Stefanovic after he compared Palestine and Hamas to a block of Cadbury’s Top Deck chocolate.

The Prime Minister was quick to tell the Today show host he’d got it all wrong when asked about a recent speech that suggested Australia could be a step closer to embracing Palestinian statehood.

Mr Albanese insisted it was longstanding policy and both his and previous governments had supported a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine.

“But separating Hamas and a Palestinian state is, like, kind of separating the milk and the dark chocolate and the Cadbury Top Deck. I mean, it’s just about impossible, isn’t it?” Stefanovic asked.

“Well, that’s not right,” Mr Albanese fired back.

“When you look at the Palestinian Authority and the West Bank, (it’s) not run by Hamas. We need to make sure that Hamas has no role.

“What we need to do, though, is to make sure that Palestinians can have hope of a secure future as well. We’ve seen generations consigned to conditions that are completely unacceptable, and that’s been a source of tension.

“And what we need to do is to look beyond what happens post the current conflict … a two-state solution is something that does need to be advanced.”

The back and forth came on the heels of Peter Dutton’s bruising take-down of Foreign Minister Penny Wong, who canvassed recognising Palestinian statehood as a way of “building momentum” towards a two-state solution earlier this week.

In his own speech on Wednesday evening, Mr Dutton accused Senator Wong of “irreparably” damaging Australia’s relationship with Israel and being “reckless”.

Mr Albanese dismissed it as just “more nasty negativity” from the Opposition Leader and said Senator Wong’s comments were about being a “serious player” and “about real solutions to the Middle East conflict”.

He said “the entire world” knew the Middle Eastern region needed a two-state solution.

“That’s something that’s been Australia’s longstanding policy and that certainly I’ve been very consistent on for a long period of time, but Hamas can play no role in a future state, and we’ve made that very clear, as has the rest of the Western world,” he said.

More than 33,000 Palestinians have been killed, according to Gaza’s health ministry, since the conflict was triggered by Hamas’ October 7 attack on Israel.

The attack left 1200 people dead and more than 250 people taken hostage.

Both Mr Albanese and Senator Wong have left the timing of any potential recognition of Palestine deliberately vague.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry chief Alex Ryvchin said the timing of Senator Wong’s comments were “problematic”.

“The focus needs to be on the release of the hostages and ending this war … and talking about long-term political solutions is not correct at this time,” he told ABC radio.

“I wish that all of the airtime and all the energy that is directed towards this conversation were directed towards ending this war, bringing about the downfall of Hamas and freeing the captives.

“I think that should be the absolute imperative of our society, of our government at this time.”

Mr Albanese stressed those conversations were taking place, and like-minded countries, such as the UK and the US, had made similar comments to Senator Wong.

“You’re aware they’re taking place because you would have broadcast comments from people like David Cameron, a former British prime minister and foreign secretary, who made similar comments, the comments of President (Joe) Biden speaking about a two-state solution,” he said.

“Every one of our like-minded partners, I’ve issued joint statements with the prime ministers of Canada and New Zealand, three of the Five Eyes partners calling for a two-state solution.”

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