Thursday, 14 February 2008
- That the Senate—
- notes the comments of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East on 29 January 2008 that the blockade of Gaza has incarcerated 1.5 million Palestinians, reduced to barely subsistence levels their supplies of food, medicine, fuel and other necessities and has generated fear, fury and distress amongst the Palestinians, through air strikes, incursions, assassinations and other military action that regularly takes civilian lives; and
- calls on the Australian Government to make representations to the Israeli Government to immediately lift the blockade of Gaza.
by leave—We oppose the motion as it stands because it is one-sided and does not recognise the complexities of the situation which has arisen as a result of the Hamas takeover of Gaza last year. We call on all sides in the conflict to make every effort to end violence affecting civilian populations in both the Palestinian territories and Israel. It is important that both sides remain focused on peace negotiations launched at Annapolis which offered the only viable hope for a peaceful and just solution to the conflict. The Australian government is seriously concerned at the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The humanitarian crisis is in no-one’s interest. Note that we have doubled our aid to the Palestinian territories to $45 million for 2008. Israel’s policies towards Gaza are a result of continued rocket attacks launched from Gaza. Australia is committed to a two-stage solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which recognises both Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for a state of their own.
That the motion (Senator Nettle’s) be agreed to.