Ali Kazak

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Ali Kazak
علي القزق
Ali Kazak, 2005 (cropped).JPG
Ali Kazak in 2005.
Personal details
Born Haifa, Palestine
Political party Palestine Liberation Organisation

Ali Kazak (Arabic: علي القزق‎) was a senior Palestinian diplomat. He is now the Managing Director of Southern Link International, a business, investment consultancy, and public relations company. He is the founder of the Australia-Arab Affairs Council and Palestine Publications a not for profit.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Kazak was born in Haifa, Palestine, in 1947.

Kazak grew up in Syria as a Palestinian refugee. He and his mother were separated from his father when Israel was created in 1948 and were prevented from returning home. He did not see his father, who was living back in Haifa, for 48 years. In 1968, while at Damascus University, Kazak was invited to join the Palestine National Liberation Movement (Fateh) and joined its political wing. At the time the movement was underground, it is now the largest party within the PLO.

Kazak immigrated to Australia in 1970. He became active in pro-Palestinian Lobbying.

Early history in Australia[edit]

Kazak was the founder, publisher and co-editor of the Australian Newspaper Free Palestine (1979–90).[3][4] He was also the publisher and editor of Background Briefing (1987–93),[5] the book The Jerusalem Question (1997),[6] which was translated into Portuguese and reprinted in Brazil, and the author of the book Australia and the Arabs (أستراليا والعرب, written in Arabic) in 2012, which was published by the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, in Doha, Qatar.[7] He also contributed a chapter in ‘Israel’s International Relations: Contexts, Tools, Success and Failures’ published in Arabic by MADAR (The Palestinian Forum for Israeli Studies) entitled ‘Israel’s Relations with Australia, New Zealand and the pacific region’. As well, he has written other booklets and publications on the Palestine question, and penned the Palestinian entry in the Encyclopedia of the Australian People put out by the Australian Government to commemorate Australia’s bicentennial in 1988.[4] He also organised a number of Palestinian political and cultural exhibitions throughout Australia.[8][9][10][11]

He was the founder and the driving force behind the establishment of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign on 30 May 1981 in a number of states in Australia (VIC, ACT, SA, WA and QLD) and in New Zealand's major cities, and other Palestinian community groups.

His activities in advocating for the Palestinian cause were recognised in 1981 with his appointment by the PLO Executive Committee as the PLO's representative to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.

Diplomatic mission[edit]

Receiving the 20th Anniversary of Independence Medal from the President of Vanuatu, Rev. John Bani, on 30.7. 2000

In 1982, he established the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Australia under the name of the Palestine Information Office, which was recognised by the Australian government in 1989 as the office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, and then further recognised in 1994 as the General Palestinian Delegation.[12]

During a speaking tour of New Zealand in early 1982, Kazak met with the Foreign Minister Warren Cooper, which was the first official meeting with a PLO official by the NZ Government, and resulted in New Zealand’s recognition of the PLO.[13][14][15] In 1982 Kazak led a delegation to the Middle East, comprising parliamentarians, clergy, academics and journalists from both Australia and New Zealand. It was the first-ever Arab-led delegation and was followed by other parliamentary delegations.[16]

Kazak was the first Arab official to visit the South Pacific countries in 1985.[17][18][19] He has been received by consecutive heads of governments, prime ministers and foreign ministers in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific region.[20][21][22]

His efforts were crucial in gaining recognition by the Republic of Vanuatu (1985), Papua New Guinea (1994) and East Timor (2004) of the State of Palestine and the establishment of full diplomatic relations with these countries. Kazak presented his credentials as the non-resident Ambassador of Palestine to the Republic of Vanuatu on 19 October 1989[23][24] and to the Democratic Republic of East Timor on 2 March 2004.[25] He was also Ambassador-designate to Papua New Guinea (1994–2006).[26][27]

Kazak was awarded the 20th Anniversary of Independence Medal by the president of Vanuatu, Rev. John Bani, on 30 July 2000, becoming the first Middle East ambassador to receive such an award throughout the Pacific and Australasian regions.

In May 1986 Kazak became the first person to call for adjudication by the Australian Press Council of untrue and stereotyped reporting of Palestinians by an Australian media outlet. The case was upheld by the Press Council in its adjudication of 27 August 1986.[28] This was followed by other cases in which the Palestinian people were vilified by the media.[29]

Kazak has presented three comprehensive submissions to the first, second and third inquires of the Federal Parliament's Human Rights Sub-Committee in 1992/93, 1993/94 and 1998/99 respectively, as well as a further submission to the Foreign Affairs Sub-Committee’s inquiry in 2000 on Australia’s relations with the Middle East. He has also been invited to appear at the committee's public hearings.[30][31][32][33][34]

He has addressed and represented Palestine at numerous national and international conferences and forums. He was also invited to speak at international forums such as the (United Arab) Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research’s symposium ‘Australia and the Arab World’ in 2009, and has written articles in the mainstream Australian and international media. Kazak has appeared on national and international television and radio programs.

Kazak played a major role in obtaining the release of NZ hostages captured by the Iraqi army in Kuwait in 1990 and taken to Baghdad.[35]

In the late 1990s Kazak initiated the establishment of the NSW State Parliamentary Friends of Palestine group (1998), the Australian Federal Parliamentary Friends of Palestine (1999), the Victorian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine (2002) and the South Australia Parliamentary Friends of Palestine (2003) and the New Zealand Parliamentary Friends of Palestine (1999).

Following the Declaration of Principles in 1993, Mr Kazak was able to return to Haifa in June 1995. He was reunited with his father for the first time in 48 years.

See also[edit]

  • Al Jazeera documentary on Ali Kazak 'Mawa'd fi al Mhjar'(A Date in the Country of Immigration)[36]
  • Papers of Ali Kazak, 1974-2008 [manuscript], National Library of Australia[37]

References[edit]

  1. ^ “Managing Director – Profile”, Southern Link International
  2. ^ “Ali Kazak becomes JWM associate”, JWM, 10 Sept. 2006
  3. ^ Free Palestine, Published by A. Kazak, Melbourne, 1979 -1990, ISSN 0157-3845
  4. ^ a b The Australian People; An Encyclopedia of the Nation, Its People and Their Origins, General editor James Jupp, Angus and Robertson, Australia 1988, P730
  5. ^ Background Briefing, Published by A. Kazak, Canberra, 1987–1993, ISSN 1034-9189
  6. ^ The Jerusalem Question, Edited by Ali Kazak, published by General Palestinian Delegation, Canberra, 1997, ISBN 0-646-28747-8
  7. ^ "Books: The Arabs and Australia". 
  8. ^ http://www.librarycatalogue.act.gov.au/ipac20/ipac.jsp?session=HQ87395862798.111592&profile=vl&uri=link=3100007~!695408~!3100001~!3100002&aspect=subtab13&menu=search&ri=3&source=~!horizon&term=Treasures+of+Palestine+%2F&index=ALLTITP#focus
  9. ^ "Past Exhibitions". 
  10. ^ ""Treasures of Palestine exhibition", South Australia Museum, 3 Dec. 2004 – 30 Jan. 2005". 
  11. ^ Lithe. "Error". www.samuseum.sa.gov.au. 
  12. ^ “Questions without notice – Palestine Liberation Organisation”, Parliament House of Australia, Senate Hansard page 297, 2 March 1989
  13. ^ “PLO beckons MPs”, The Dominion, New Zealand, 4 May 1982, P2
  14. ^ “Palestinians’ image concerns visitor”, The Star, New Zealand, 28 April 1982. P3
  15. ^ “The Case for Palestine”, by Vernon Wright, NZ Listener, New Zealand, 15 May 1982, P 18-19
  16. ^ “Emit receives fact-finding mission”, Daily Gulf Times, UAE, 11 Oct. 1982, front page
  17. ^ “Pacific tour”, Free Palestine, Melbourne – Australia, May–June 1985, P9
  18. ^ Official communiqué of the Vanuatu Government, Port Vila – Vanuatu, 9 May 1985
  19. ^ “Envoy in Fiji to state the Palestinians’ case”, Fiji Times, Suva – Fiji, 14 Mau 198
  20. ^ “Questions without notice – Palestine Liberation Organisation”, Parliament House of Australia, Senate Hansard page 1433, 30 May 1990
  21. ^ ‘Recognition of States - non-recognition of "Palestine" - status of the Palestine Liberation Organisation in Australia’, Australian Year Book of International Law1990, P 236 - 237
  22. ^ "Howard meets Palestinian delegate". 11 July 2003. 
  23. ^ Vanuatu recognised PLO”, Vanuatu Weekly, Port vila – Vanuatu, 20.10.1989
  24. ^ “Vanuatu and Palestine establish full diplomatic relations”, Vanguard, Melbourne - Australia, 8 Nov. 1989
  25. ^ ""President Xanana Gusmão to receive new Palestinian Ambassador", Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release, Dili - Timor-Leste, 1 March 2004". 
  26. ^ “PLO man in for talks”, Papua New Guinea Post-courier, Port Moresby- Papua New Guinea, 1 Nov. 1989
  27. ^ Papua New Guinea, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, press release No. 89, 31 Oct. 1989
  28. ^ “Man denied right of reply, says press council”, the Age, Melbourne – Australia, 3 Sept. 1986
  29. ^ Administrative Decisions Tribunal of New South Wales Proceedings concern a complaint of racial vilification made by Mr Ali Kazak against The Australian Financial Review, 27 March 2000 http://www.law.mq.edu.au/.../ADT NSW Kazac v Fairfax case 2000.htm - Cached
  30. ^ See reports on these subjects by the Joint Standing Committee on Human Rights and Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
  31. ^ ""Conviction with Compassion: A Report on Freedom of Religion and Belief", Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, Presented to both Houses of Parliament on 27 November 2000. 18 November 2002" (PDF). 
  32. ^ "ParlInfo - Background on the organisation of the PLO and a request for Mr Hawke to intervene in the Middle East process". parlinfo.aph.gov.au. 
  33. ^ "ParlInfo - JOINT STANDING COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE Foreign Affairs Subcommittee : 26/02/2001 : Australia's relations with the Middle East". parlinfo.aph.gov.au. 
  34. ^ "Full report for Australia's Relations with the Middle East record of adherence to prior agreements has been either grudging, incomplete, Date: 21/07/2010 - Collection: Committees - Sub Collection: HoR Committee Reports, ID: www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/jfadt/Mideast/MEreport.pdf - Size: 3.3 Mb" (PDF). 
  35. ^ “PM, PLO talks upset NZ Jewry”, by Cate Brett, Christchurch Star, Christchurch – New Zealand, 3.10.1990, P3
  36. ^ "علي القزق". 
  37. ^ Kazak, Ali. "Papers of Ali Kazak, circa 1950-circa 2011 [manuscript]" – via National Library of Australia.