Australia/Israel Review

In Parliament – June 2015

Jun 9, 2015 | 

Christopher Hayes (ALP, Fowler) – May 14 – “Last year’s Gaza War has had a profound impact on me – a conflict which saw Israel attempt to suppress Hamas rockets but resulted in the deaths of over 1,500 Palestinians, of whom 538 were children…I still find it hard to shake the image of the four boys playing on the beach in Gaza cut down. While I have serious misgivings about the scale of the Israeli response, I am equally disturbed by the fact that civilian sites were used by Hamas to shield militia, and I deplore the fact that over 3,000 rockets were fired by Hamas, threatening the lives of Israeli citizens. Nevertheless, no fair-minded person could possibly think what occurred in Gaza was acceptable. 

“With a view to lasting peace in the region and recognising the dignity of people, the international community has long held the view of a two-state solution that recognises the sovereignty of both Israel and Palestine. Indeed, Binyamin Netanyahu, when he came to office in 2009, spoke of his determination to see ‘two peoples living with amity and mutual respect,’ and he indicated that Israel would be willing to support a two-state solution in a future peace agreement. However, recent comments and the behaviour of Mr. Netanyahu and members of his government have cast serious doubt as to his sincerity in achieving this outcome…

“Given Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent behaviour, along with that of senior members of his Likud Party, to distance themselves from a two-state solution, I believe it falls to countries like Australia, who believe in the dignity of all peoples of the region, to become more engaged in the peace process and to address the need for tangible progress in the creation of a Palestinian state.”

Senator Michael Ronaldson (Liberal, VIC) – May 13 – “The exploits of the Australian Light Horse in the deserts of Palestine and the Sinai from 1916 to 1918 deserve to be better known. The Light Horse victory at Be’er Sheva, one of the best known cavalry charges in history, was a highlight of the epic campaign led by Australian and New Zealand mounted horsemen that advanced from the Suez Canal to Jerusalem and onto Damascus and which broke the Turkish Ottoman army…

“It is right that Australia commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Be’er Sheva. The Government has provided funding to enable a commemorative ceremony to take place in Israel on 31 October 2017 to mark this event.

“I want to acknowledge the significant interest amongst the Australian Jewish community to see this event appropriately acknowledged and commemorated.”

Scott Farlow (Liberal, NSW Legislative Council) – May 12 – “I live in Lindfield. When we moved to Lindfield a couple of years ago Masada College was still operating. As we passed that school, my wife asked me why there was a place with a security guard just two streets away from our home. I told her it was a school. She was shocked and appalled; she could not believe that a school would need a security guard on a Saturday. Unfortunately, this is something that people in our community, particularly the Jewish community, face in Sydney and New South Wales today…

“It is a concern that people in our community, our society, still face this threat, and that school students routinely face bomb threats… That should not be happening in our society or in New South Wales. I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish community in facing that threat.”



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