My statement on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
“It is good that the current outbreak of violence between Israelis and Palestinians has ended, but I along with so many people around the world, remain deeply distressed by the loss of life and destruction. The historical and structural issues driving this conflict won’t be solved by statements from politicians nor will these statements end the violence, death and destruction
“The cycle of hatred, violence, and despair between the Israelis and Palestinians has been ongoing for almost a century. My own family has been part of this conflict over the past 70 years with my grandfather, father and uncles fighting in the wars of 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Our family home in Port Said was reduced to rubble by Israeli airstrikes.
“Israelis will not be able to live in peace so long as Palestinians suffer death and injustices. The Palestinian people will not achieve self-determination and peace as long as Hamas continues to use violence and exploit the conflict for their narrow self-interest.
“Australia and Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne must do more than just put out bland statements. As one of the world’s oldest democracies and a middle power with diplomatic influence, Australia should have played a more active diplomatic role alongside other countries and the UN to push for an immediate ceasefire to stop the death of innocent civilians and bring the parties to the negotiating table to effect a truce. I have called for this publicly and in the media. This short-term objective will at least stop the violence that is taking so many innocent civilian lives.
“Australia also has important contributions to make in the medium to longer term towards securing lasting peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis. A long-term stable peace won’t be achieved in the region until Palestinian self-determination is realised and until the Palestinian people have a state of their own. I have urged the Australian Government and our diplomats to work with our friends and allies around the world to commit to advancing what has, until now, been the elusive longer-term goal of a sustainable two-state solution based on justice, self-determination, peace and security for Palestinians and Israelis.
“Australia should make this effort because this conflict has drained the resources and attention of the international community and polarised people around the world, including in Australia, for far too long. It has driven antisemitism and Islamophobia and inured us to the suffering of people in the region. If Australia is to stand for human rights, peace and security around the world we must leverage our middle power diplomacy to contribute to a lasting and stable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Doing so would advance global stability which is always in Australia’s national interest.
“Australia has a long and proud history of supporting a just and durable two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Successive Australian governments have encouraged the parties to pursue direct negotiations to that end.
“Labor Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong has expressed support for a halt to actions that increase tensions including land appropriations, forced evictions, demolitions and settlement activity. The Morrison Government is not doing enough and I encourage you, as someone passionate about this issue, to contact Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne to express your concerns directly:
Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Foreign Affairs
PO Box 6100
Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600
Phone: (02) 6277 7500
“Labor continues to call on the Morrison Government to ensure Australia is working constructively to support security and human rights in advance of a lasting peace in the Middle East.”