The following is the text of the remarks made by AIJAC Executive Director Dr. Colin Rubenstein, AM, at the “Rally for Peace” held on the steps of the Victorian Parliament in Melbourne on August 10:
It’s time for some moral clarity and some factual accuracy!
Enough of the lies, the slander, the bias and the evil old fashioned ,and pernicious new, antisemitism.
Israel never wanted this conflict
It doesn’t want to be in Gaza.
It does not want to kill one Palestinian civilian, or risk the life of one of its soldiers.
It wants peace in the Middle East – to live in peace alongside a Palestinian state that genuinely accepts its right to exist as a Jewish state within secure borders.
It has shown many times that it is prepared to make painful compromises to achieve this peace.
However, it also knows that peace requires it to defend its civilians when they are attacked by incessant rockets and alarming terror tunnels.
It did not want this war, but war was forced upon it.
When Hamas commits the double war crime of firing indiscriminately at Israeli civilians while hiding among its own civilians, it must act, and it cannot be blamed for the inevitable deaths that follow.
Israel does more than any other country to avoid killing civilians.
It uses a variety of methods, including phone calls, texts, leaflets and the knock on the roof to warn civilians, even if that means it loses some military advantage.
Hamas, by contrast, uses its civilians to protect its weapons.
Its evil strategy in this war includes knowingly incurring civilian deaths so they can be used against Israel in the international court of public opinion.
Part of this strategy is to exaggerate the percentage of civilians among the deaths from this war whereas reliable Israeli figures indicate nearly half the casualties are Hamas combatants.
We want peace, for Israel and for the long-suffering civilians of Gaza, but people must understand that the route to peace does not involve empowering the terrorists of Hamas by denying Israel’s right to effectively defend itself.
Hamas, which is fanatically committed to the destruction of Israel, is not interested in peace. It is not interested in a Palestinian state living in peace next to Israel. It does not even aspire
to a Palestinian state instead of Israel.
What Hamas wants is what al-Qaeda wants and what ISIS wants – an Islamic Caliphate.
The only way to peace is for Hamas to be demilitarised, linking this to the rehabilitation and rebuilding of Gaza.
The people of Israel must be freed from the threat of Hamas, and the people of Gaza must be freed from the yoke of Hamas, and from rulers that sees them as nothing more than cannon fodder.
Let’s all hope that the international community realises these simple truths, supports efforts to ensure that the people of Israel, and the people of Gaza, don’t need to go through all this again, but rather are steered towards a road for genuine negotiations and real peace.