The coalition supports Israel’s right to whatever measures are necessary, utilising every asset available to safeguard its people and its territory’s integrity. Israel, too, deserves to live in peace and security, free from constant threats and attacks.
Mr WOOD (La Trobe) (20:34): I rise today to speak about the recent unprovoked and abhorrent attacks by the militant group Hamas on Israel, which are deeply disturbing. As a collective voice, the coalition condemns this attack and the violence which occurred on 7 October, and we thank the Prime Minister for bringing this motion before the House. It is a matter that deeply concerns us all, as it represents a profound human tragedy that transcends borders, faith and politics.
The inhumanity displayed by Hamas, through their abhorrent attacks, has been on full display for the world to witness. Hamas gunmen have reportedly killed more than 1,400 people, including civilians and soldiers, and took over 199 hostages, according to Israeli authorities. Those hostages must be released. Reports received just today are that hundreds of people are believed to have been killed in an explosion at a Gaza hospital crammed with patients and displaced people. My heart goes out not only to all those Israeli people and their community in Australia and abroad but also to the Palestinian innocent civilians caught up in this awful tragedy—or massacre, I must say.
I’m someone who has been to both Israel and Palestine. I’ve been there and met the people firsthand. Israel, like any sovereign nation, has an inherent right to protect itself from acts of aggression and violence. The attacks by Hamas are clear provocation, and Israel’s response to defend itself and its sovereignty, bolster its borders, protect its people and thwart future threats is not only justifiable but it’s absolutely necessary. In government, the coalition consistently expressed our concern about the escalating violence in Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, and called on leaders to take immediate steps to halt violence, maintain restraint and restore calm. No-one wants to see the loss of innocent lives on either side. Again, that goes to both the Israeli and Palestinian civilians. I note the Israeli government comments that it was doing all it could to minimise civilian casualties. The same cannot be said for Hamas, which has set out to massacre innocent people—women and children.
The coalition supports Israel’s right to whatever measures are necessary, utilising every asset available to safeguard its people and its territory’s integrity. Israel, too, deserves to live in peace and security, free from constant threats and attacks. It is essential that they approach this issue with empathy and unwavering commitment to peace. The pain and suffering endured by the people in the region, on both sides, should move us to seek solutions that bring an end to this cycle of violence and pave the way for a peaceful coexistence.