Wednesday, 2 March 2016
I ask that general business notice of motion No. 1061, standing in my name and in the name of Senator Rhiannon for today concerning Israel and the visit of the Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, be taken as a formal motion.
instances in which the government refuses formality. These people have sparked up without even knowing what I am going to say. It is amazing. They are denying formality on a fairly simple statement that the retired commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, Lieutenant Colonel Benny Gantz, is in Australia this week. This is the individual who was in charge of the Israel Defense Forces at the time of Operation Protective Edge in 2014 and Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development late last year identified that Gaza would be uninhabitable by 2020 as a result of the serial assaults by the Israel Defense Forces on the people of Gaza City. The very least that the Australian government could do would be to make some comments, or allow a vote in this chamber, on the visit of this individual to Australia, should they have seen fit to issue him with a visa. It is very disappointing that the Australian government would not— (Time expired)
Serious and complex foreign policy matters should not be dealt with through a Senate motion. The ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is of deep concern to the Australian government. We called on all parties to respect international humanitarian law during the 2014 Gaza conflict. Australia supports the full and thorough investigation of any alleged violations of international humanitarian law. The 2014 Gaza conflict and more recent violence underline the importance of a return to negotiations toward a two-state solution. The government is committed to a future where the Israeli and Palestinian peoples live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders.
I will leave my comments there lest I say too much.