I understand that the people of Gaza will be suffering. If they have the ways and means to get out of there—I can’t see peace happening any time. I will just say that I personally condemn Hamas. I support Israel’s right to exist. It’s fundamental. We must not let this go unchallenged. We offer support. We feel for the Palestinian people who will bear the brunt of this. But they have to realise Hamas is doing this to them, to their own citizens. They have been misled by Hamas. Israel do not want to have permanent war. They want to have peace. Most people in the world get over conflict and come to a sensible resolution.
Dr GILLESPIE (Lyne) (17:50): The events of 7 October will be etched in my memory forever, like they will for the rest of civilisation. What we saw is beyond belief. The depravity, the absolutely gory violence—the perverse violent nature of it—made me realise how far things have descended in the Middle East. We all know the existential survival situation that the state of Israel has had to face. When the state of Israel was created by all of us, by the United Nations, it was given a homeland because of pogrom after pogrom, and then the Nazi Holocaust was the final straw. The world decided they should have a place to call their own. Since then they’ve had several wars against them, usually unannounced. And this latest one made me realise how violent Hamas really is. They are acting like ISIL. They are brutal monsters to do that, to be killing people, flying in in gyrocopters, in bulldozers, and then running around in kibbutzes and at a youth festival, for goodness sake, hijacking people, taking them back into Gaza, holding them and torturing them and/or shooting them.
The stories and the verbatim reports I’ve seen from the US Secretary of State—stories about beheading—are true. Burning and beheading soldiers, children and defenceless people goes beyond the pale. Hamas should be condemned around the world. Those people who equivocate in that condemnation need to face up to the reality. If they don’t condemn that, they are tacitly allowing it. You cannot go any lower than that. We see, too, that Hezbollah is to the north of Israel, trying to stir up another flashpoint. We know there are geopolitical actors behind both these organisations. But Israel has a right to exist, like any nation state, and has an obligation to protect its citizens. It is unfortunate that the only way they can do that, the only way they can get rid of Hamas, is to go into Gaza.
In Australia, our defence forces wear a uniform and are usually housed in our military bases, and the Army, Navy and Air Force defence systems are all clearly marked. But in the Middle East, Hamas and Hezbollah put a lot of their military equipment in civilian buildings, in the bottoms of schools, in educational facilities. They use human shields. They have threatened to assassinate each of the hostages they’ve taken if Israel sends more bombs to them.
I understand that the people of Gaza will be suffering. If they have the ways and means to get out of there—I can’t see peace happening any time. I will just say that I personally condemn Hamas. I support Israel’s right to exist. It’s fundamental. We must not let this go unchallenged. We offer support. We feel for the Palestinian people who will bear the brunt of this. But they have to realise Hamas is doing this to them, to their own citizens. They have been misled by Hamas. Israel do not want to have permanent war. They want to have peace. Most people in the world get over conflict and come to a sensible resolution. But it’s an interminable battle for survival. They thought they had it under control, but obviously we have to the north and the south support from other nations states. It is really interminable.
I wish to pass on my condolences to the many people of Jewish faith and Israeli citizenship who reside here in Australia and in my electorate of Lyne. It is a sad and horrifying day for everyone. I also have people in my electorate who have family in Palestine, and it’s horrifying for them. That Hamas thinks this is going to end with some glorious victory just shows you how perverse and twisted they are. It’s not Islamic to do that; it’s just barbaric. That is the thing. These people are just evil, and evil begets evil. They have to be stopped.
So I would like to pass on my condolences to the people of Israel and say to the people of Palestine that, if you can move, please do, because it will be what it is. A war is a horrible thing. We hope for common sense and peace and that Hamas is toppled by the Palestinians themselves and that, likewise, Hezbollah, which appears to be trying to do a synchronous attack from the north, will be overthrown by their own citizens. I say to all those other nations that are standing behind Israel, ‘Thank you.’