The Albanian government has sparked backlash after it abstained from a United Nations motion calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
The non-binding resolution drafted by Jordan called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the bloody conflict between the Jewish state and the terrorist organization.
A UN General Assembly vote in New York approved the measure, with 120 countries supporting it, 14 countries voting against and 45 abstaining, including Australia.
The move has sparked backlash on both sides of the political party, with members of the Jewish and Muslim communities also dissatisfied.
Opposition leader Peter Dutton described Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s leadership as “weak” for failing to support the US and Israel, which voted against the motion.
“The prime minister had an opportunity here at the United Nations to send a clear message about our values and our position and he failed that test,” Dutton told Sky News.
The Albanian government has sparked backlash after it abstained from a United Nations motion calling for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas
“And I think it was an incredibly weak display of leadership from the prime minister.”
The Australian Jewish Association also accused Mr Albanese of “weak” leadership.
“The Albanian government should have stood with Israel, the US and the 14 countries that voted against the shameful resolution, including many in our region,” the lobby group wrote on X.
From the other side of the political spectrum, Green Party leader Adam Bandt was equally scathing.
“Labour’s failure to join most of the world in voting for a ceasefire is unacceptable,” Mr Bandt wrote on X.
“Workers must advocate for peace, not war, in Gaza and the Middle East.”
Former Australian Craig Forster expressed similar views, describing Australia’s position as “regrettable”.
“The news overnight that Australia abstained from a United Nations vote on protecting civilians and upholding legal and humanitarian obligations is regrettable and deeply saddening,” he said.
“Australia’s commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law should be a given.”
Greens leader Adam Bandt described Australia’s failure to support a ceasefire motion as “unacceptable”.
Australia’s Muslim community also expresses dissatisfaction with this attitude.
Federation of Islamic Councils chief executive Kamalle Dabboussy said there was even talk of banning Labor MPs from mosques and community centres.
“There is anger in the community and talk about questioning the value of engagement,” Dabbousy said.
Adel Salman from the Islamic Council of Victoria said Labor’s “unilateral” support for Israel angered community leaders so much that the centers closed their doors to government MPs.
Palestine’s general delegation to Australia, which represents the Palestinian Authority, which rules the West Bank, also described Australia’s decision as “deeply disappointing.”
The president of the Australian Palestinian Network, Nasser Mashni, also expressed his disappointment and described the fighting in Gaza as “catastrophic”.
However, Zionist Federation of Australia President Jeremy Leibler showed rare support for Australia’s position.
“Australia made the right decision not to support a UN General Assembly resolution on Gaza that did not condemn the barbaric terrorist attack … or call for the release of more than 229 hostages,” he said.
Smoke rises after a bombardment of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces as fighting continues
Australia’s UN Ambassador and Permanent Representative, James Larsen, told the gathering that Australia was “disappointed” to abstain from voting because the motion was “incomplete”.
“The way Israel defends itself is important,” he said, echoing Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s comments.
“We can affirm Israel’s right to defend itself while saying that the way it does so is important,” he said.
While Australia abstained and voted in favor of the ceasefire, it called for “humanitarian pauses in hostilities to allow food, water, medicine and other vital assistance to reach people in urgent need and to allow civilians to reach safety.”