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Motion condemning Hamas attacks on Israel

The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP

Today, we mourn the greatest loss of Jewish life in a single day since the Holocaust.

Today we mourn more than 1,300 people who have been murdered by Hamas terrorists.

Hundreds of young Israelis mercilessly hunted down at a music festival.

Israelis murdered in their homes – shot as they answered their front doors. Israelis butchered in their beds. Entire families mercilessly slaughtered in their cars, their kitchens, their living rooms.

Men, women and children. Jewish men. Jewish women. Jewish children.

I am the son of a Holocaust survivor who, as young boy, was forced to flee his home in 1939 and travel to the other side of the world. His life was at risk because – and only because – he is Jewish.

My father, and my grandparents, escaped.

More than six million Jewish men, women and children did not escape. They were murdered by the Nazis and their allies and collaborators for being Jewish.

Anti-Semitism has been called “the longest hatred” – the Nazis did not invent it. And, as the events of the last week have demonstrated all too tragically, Anti-Semitism did not end when the Nazis were defeated.

Because make no mistake:

This was not just an attack on the State of Israel.

And it was not just an attack on the people of Israel.

This was an attack on the Jewish people.

Over thousands of years, the Jewish community – my community – has only survived because of our unbreakable spirit in the face of horrific prejudice.

And, on many occasions, we have had to face that prejudice alone.

Not this time.

Because this time, unlike so many times in our past, the Jewish community is not alone.

As this motion makes clear, Israel is not alone.

Australia's support for Israel is deep and enduring.

It is a bond of true friendship, which goes back to the founding of modern Israel when Doc Evatt helped introduce UN Resolution 181 – and to when, under Prime Minister Ben Chifley, Australia was the first country to cast a vote in favour of creating the modern state of Israel.

In the shadow of the Holocaust, Australia supported the legitimate right and aspiration of the Jewish people to establish a Jewish homeland.

And Australia unambiguously supports the right of Israel to defend itself today.

At the same time, the Australian Government will continue to support the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

To that end, it is the policy of this Government, as it has been for Australian governments for many years now, to support a just and enduring two‑state solution – in which Israel and a future Palestinian state coexist in peace and security within internationally recognised borders.

This is an aspiration shared by many Israelis and by many Palestinians.

But let’s be clear about something: Hamas does not share this aspiration. Hamas has never shared this aspiration.

Hamas has always worked to undermine those who strive for peace – whether they be Israeli or Palestinian.

Because Hamas has no interest in making peace with Israel.

As the founding charter of Hamas declares, its aim is to “obliterate” Israel.

Today, more than 75 years since Australia supported the creation of the modern state of Israel, my message is simple: the Australian Government stands as one with Israel and the people of Israel against Hamas and its supporters.  

Australia stands as one with the Jewish community.

And we always will.