The Coalition appreciates the very long history associated with Jewish populations in Israel, along with other religious populations, particularly those of Islamic and Christian faith. It is of deep regret that terrorism and violence continue to afflict those who live amongst the many holy sites of this country.
Whatever the complexities of this history, there can be no accepting of the atrocities that were perpetrated by Hamas on October 7, 2023. Hamas deliberately targeted innocent civilians; killing babies, children and young people at a music festival and many others. Their actions resulted in the largest killing of Jews on a single day since the Holocaust, while hundreds more were taken hostage.
No nation could or would live with this threat to its citizens. This is why the Coalition believes Australia should maintain a strong commitment in support of Israel’s inherent right to self-defence. Hamas’ capability to undertake such terrorist attacks in the future needs to be removed.
The Australian Parliament, in a bipartisan statement, made clear our support for Israel’s right to self-defence, as well as the need for Israel to act with regard to international law. This remains the position of the Coalition.
Whilst I respect the sincerity of other positions, the Coalition respectfully disagrees with any view that Australia should not stand with Israel in support of the removal of Hamas as a terrorist force.
However, I am equally concerned for the loss of civilian life in Gaza and I draw your attention to the joint letter written by six former Australian Prime Ministers which makes the same point – as Australians we can stand in solidarity with Jewish Australians and the Australian Palestinian community to support each other and ensure the ancient hatreds do not gain a foothold on our shores.
Ultimately, we wish to see a situation in which Israelis and Palestinian peoples can live in peace. While such a peace will necessitate expectations of and commitments from all parties, it is not possible to see it negotiated with Hamas, whose leaders have publicly stated their desire to repeat the attacks of October 7.
Whatever the position of individual Australians with regard to this conflict, I urge all Australians to ensure our nation remains a safe and respectful place for people of all faiths and backgrounds.