The Hon. PAUL GREEN [4.14 p.m.]: I refer today to the current Gaza conflict. On Tuesday 20 November the following quote is recorded in Hansard:
[Palestinians] are treated like dirt by the Israelis …
How accurate is that statement? It might be helpful to go back to where this all began. Blogger Bill Muehlenberg writes:
The Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas was founded in 1987 as an off shoot of the militant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Since 2007 it has controlled Gaza. The 1988 Hamas Charter makes it clear that the complete removal of the Israelis and the establishment of a totalist Islamic state must occur.
The latest crisis is simply more of the same. Israel is under relentless attack, with hundreds of rockets raining down upon it. It has no choice but to defend itself. Hamas’ strategy is to plant its rocket launchers in, on, or near mosques, schools, and hospitals, in order to invite retaliation and have the Israelis bomb their own people. The mainstream media will often focus on any civilian casualties, no matter how hard Israel seeks to prevent [these casualties].
Indeed, the embattled nation goes to unprecedented lengths to avoid such casualties, including leaflet drops to warn of approaching strikes; phone calls and text messages also warning of such actions; and the use of pinpoint strikes to minimise as much as possible any civilian casualties.
In addition to taking unprecedented action to protect civilians in enemy territory, Israel has a longstanding history of sending aid and supplies to Gaza. A couple of nights ago the Israeli Defence Force tweeted:
120 trucks of goods were ready to enter Gaza from Israel today. Hamas fired rockets at the crossing. Only 24 entered. Crossing is closed.
Israel has a longstanding track record of supplying Gazans with electricity, gas, five million cubic meters of water per year, medical supplies, fresh fruit and vegetables, soft drinks—even lollies for children. I note that Ashkelon supplies 125 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza strip, despite being constantly under persistent Hamas rocket fire. While Hamas continues to bite the hand that feeds it, playing the rocket version of Russian roulette with Israeli and Gazan lives; it plays the victim and paints Israel as the aggressor. In Tuesday’s United Kingdom Guardian, Danny Ayalon said:
Hamas leaves Israel no choice. Hamas’s charter includes the aspiration that “The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews)”. While many concentrate on its death-cult worship, its bloodthirsty killing of adversaries, or its contempt for women, Christians and homosexuals, it is this aspiration for genocide that is at the root of Hamas activities. This is the primary reason why Hamas, the governing regime in Gaza, will never recognise or accept a peace accord with Israel in any form.
However, Gaza was never enough for an organisation whose [reason for existence] is the annihilation of Israel.
Richard Cohen writes:
Of all the points of disagreement between Israel and Hamas, maybe the most profound is this one: Israel cares more about sparing innocent lives—including those of Palestinians—than does Hamas. Not only have Hamas and other militant groups this year sent more than 700 rockets crashing haphazardly into southern Israel, but Hamas instigated yet another war where the chief loser will certainly be its own people.
I note that many Hamas rockets have fallen into Gaza, and one killed a four-year-old Palestinian boy. Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Leader of the Opposition Tony Abbott condemned these attacks and unilaterally shared the opinion of President Obama, who said:
Let us understand what the precipitating event here that is causing the current crisis, and that was an ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israeli territory but in areas that are populated, and there is no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders.