STATEMENT - Israel

Running through the dirt and dust to try to find refuge from rockets and guns, the young Israelis who, moments before, were enjoying a festival, were suddenly trying to take refuge in a horrible, murderous situation. They were just out to enjoy themselves. Then they were watching their friends die before their eyes, some being kidnapped. There are harrowing stories of playing dead to avoid being killed. These stories will never leave our hearts, and they should never leave our minds. There are stories of children and babies being shielded by their parents, of women being raped and dragged naked through the streets—the horrors of what Hamas did to innocent Israelis. It's abhorrent, it's inhumane and it's evil. These actions should be condemned by everyone in this country and, surely, in this House.

Hamas do not want peace. They are a terrorist organisation that seeks to end Israel. We must show our utmost support for Israel in their darkest times. I rise to support the motion moved by the Prime Minister this morning and the opposition leader's comments on the atrocious conflict caused by many Hamas militants and inflicted on innocent Israelis. The breaching of security barriers by Hamas and the ongoing slew of rockets from Gaza happened on a Jewish holiday. Professional footage by Hamas that was distributed to the world as a badge of pride for their barbarism is sickening to watch. We are still in shock and despair that we see ourselves in the midst of yet another attack on Israel, which is an attack on the Jewish community across the world. I know the Jewish community in my electorate of Lindsay is really hurting right now. It is incumbent on all of us in this House to support the State of Israel and to ensure it lives on forever. As a multicultural and multifaith nation, Australia seeks to ensure a safe and harmonious place for everyone across the world.

The handling of the protest last week at the Opera House was a disgrace. The individuals who protested in an undignified way caused distress to Sydney's Jewish community, who wanted to safely attend the Opera House to see the Israeli flag and to pray for their families who are in Israel. In this conflict, we recognise the civilians who are casualties on both sides of this war. Hamas's attack on innocent civilians was a direct and blatant provocation. Israel has a right to self-defence. Israel has a right to deter acts of aggression, coercion and interference. We are now seeing strategic operations being undertaken so that future attacks on Israel and its people do not occur.

We need to remember that Hamas entered Israel and has taken over 100 hostages. They killed hundreds of young people who were attending a music festival for peace, caused destruction, murdered thousands and caused chaos. Think of the mass destruction of Israel that could have taken place were it not for the Iron Dome defence system and the United States's financial and moral support for that system to ensure the Jewish community and its state are protected. America acutely understands what happened to Israel, given what happened on 9/11. At that time, as those planes terribly crashed into the towers and into the Pentagon, America then had the right to unequivocally defend itself. Likewise, I reiterate that now Israel has that same right too.

Should Israel request particular support, we need to ensure that countries oblige in order to enhance defence measures for the State of Israel and its citizens, such as ammunitions and specialist support. It is what we would expect from the international community. It is what we have done recently for Ukraine in its struggle against Russia. We know that around 10,000 Australians are currently in Israel, and we want them to be home and to be safe. It is right that the government works swiftly to encourage and arrange repatriation flights for our citizens in the conflict zone who wish to return to Australia. There is precedent for this from previous governments, and we need this support to continue for as long as it is possible and for as long as it is needed.

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