Kevin Rudd criticises Benjamin Netanyahu in a Facebook post

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Kevin Rudd
Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd speaks as his wife Therese Rein listens at a Labor Party function in Brisbane September 7, 2013. Reuters/Peter Barnes

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd took to Facebook to respond to the “challenge” of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu after the latter criticised him and his Labour predecessor Bob Hawke for claiming Australia should formally recognise a Palestinian state. In a lengthy post, Rudd claimed that Netanyahu has torpedoed plans for recognising a Palestinian state, which resulted to "enduring frustration" for diplomats who try to bring peace to the region.

The former Australian leader clarified that he was a supporter of Israel from the start. “But to support the state of Israel does not mandate automatic support for each and every policy of Mr. Netanyahu,” he wrote on Facebook

Rudd stressed that the state of Israel and its current leader are not co-definitional. “That is why I beg to differ on this and other aspects of Mr Netanyahu's policies,” he explained. Rudd, who failed to become UN Secretary-General last year, is currently the president of US-based think-tank the Asia Society Policy Institute.

The Facebook post from the former PM comes after Netanyahu’s remarks at a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday. When asked about criticisms of his country by Rudd and Hawke, he said he prefers "not to deal with labels but with substance."

"What kind of state will it be that they are advocating? A state that calls for Israel's destruction?" he exclaimed.

The Israel prime minister is currently on a four-day visit to the Land Down Under. On Wednesday, he praised Australia for “courageously willing to puncture UN hypocrisy” on anti-Israel resolutions.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written an opinion piece in the Australian to declare that he is not going to back up the Dec. 23 resolution that condemns Israeli settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as a “flagrant violation” of international law. “My government will not support one-sided resolutions criticising Israel of the kind recently adopted by the UN Security Council and we deplore the boycott campaigns designed to delegitimise the Jewish state,” the prime minister wrote.

On Thursday, former minister Julie Bishop expressed disapproval that Australia has to go with over 130 countries that recognise Palestinian statehood. Instead, the country has to push for direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians to achieve a two-state solution with "internationally recognised boundaries." "I disagree with their suggestion. I do not believe that there will be a lasting peace if a Palestinian state is unilaterally forced upon Israel," she told Sky News.