Michael Danby MP – statement regarding the upsurge of violence in Palestine and Israel

photo of Michael Danby MP
October 22, 2015

In the last few weeks, young Palestinian jihadis have engaged in apparently lone wolf stabbing attacks against mainly Israeli civilians. …But I, and many people around Australia, have been particularly upset by comments from the member for Fremantle, who has stood up in this parliament and blamed the victim. In what kind of moral universe is it legitimate, understandable or okay to knife and stab innocent civilians, run them over with cars or shoot them in bus stations? [Note: Reference is to Melissa Parke MP (ALP, WA), the Member for Fremantle.]

Full speech

Mr DANBY (Melbourne Ports) (10:32): In the last few weeks, young Palestinian jihadis have engaged in apparently lone wolf stabbing attacks against mainly Israeli civilians. These attacks appear to have much of the same unpredictable nature as the jihadi attacks in Australia, but they are also fuelled by the deliberate incitement of Palestinian leaders such as Mahmoud Abbas, who claims that Israel wants to change the status of the Temple Mount.

The Temple Mount is of course the holiest site in the world to Judaism, but the Israeli government forbids Jews from praying there. This rule has been in place since Jordan attacked Israel in 1967. Quite responsibly, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has insisted again and again that there are no plans to change this rule and it remains under the control of the Jordanian religious authorities, the waqf.

Mahmoud Abbas, unfortunately, told his people that Jews ‘have no right to desecrate the mosque with their dirty feet’.

Instead of trying to calm tensions, he did the opposite, stating:

Every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem is pure, every martyr will reach paradise, and every injured person will be rewarded by God.

This is just like the kind of irresponsible statements made by some imams here to young jihadis trying to kill Australian police or civilians.

The US Secretary of State, John Kerry, rightly condemned these words. He said:

No amount of frustration is appropriate to license any violence anywhere at any time. No violence should occur. And the Palestinians need to understand … President Abbas … needs to be condemning this, loudly and clearly …. And he needs to not engage in some of the incitement that his voice has sometimes been heard to encourage. …

As the Member for Deakin pointed out, there has been example after example of imams in televised sermons brandishing knives and instructing Palestinians to ‘form stabbing squads and cut them into body parts’. But I, and many people around Australia, have been particularly upset by comments from the member for Fremantle, who has stood up in this parliament and blamed the victim. In what kind of moral universe is it legitimate, understandable or okay to knife and stab innocent civilians, run them over with cars or shoot them in bus stations? It is not okay in Israel. It is not okay here in Australia. In what moral universe should we say that the media should pay more attention to the people with knives in their hands than the people with knives in their chests?

For most Australians, who do not live in such a morally inverted universe, let me cite the words of the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, at a business function last week. ‘I won’t have a bar of this notion,’ he said. ‘If a Jewish mother or father is randomly attacked in the street, then, so long as you go back far enough time or you cast the net wide enough or you draw the bow long enough, it can somehow be the victim’s fault. It can somehow be Israel’s fault. I won’t have any of that.’ That is what the Victorian Premier said.

Underlying the existential bigotry that motivates these jihadists is the fact that the attacks have taken place not just in Jerusalem but all over Israel where there is no controversy of occupation—in shopping malls in Ra’anana, Kiryat Gat and Petah Tikva and in the bus stations of Beersheba and Afula.

Let me conclude by saying that anyone who makes these kinds of moral-equivalence statements will be held to account for them, particularly if, God forbid, these kinds of jihadist attacks continue in Australia. God forbid that there should be a similar incident in Perth or Fremantle. You cannot say in the Australian parliament that it is okay for people to make a moral equivalence between people who are stabbing innocent civilians in Kiryat Gat, Jerusalem, Afula or wherever and then try to hide your sentiments in Australia. I am sure the Western Australian media and people all over this country will find those kinds of double standards and hypocrisy intolerable.

On behalf of the people of Melbourne Ports, my constituents, I share the horror that people in Australia are expressing over these stabbing attacks on innocent civilians. We face a worldwide problem. We were with the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung last night trying to understand how all of us all over the world are going to deal with the problem of deluded young people who are in their rooms with the internet and who are being fanaticised by these dreadful people in Daesh all around the world. The problems that they face in Israel are the same problems we face here in Australia, in Germany, in the United States and all over the world. The civilised world has to act together against these people.

Link to parliamentary Hansard

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