8 October 2023
Applauding the deaths of innocent people is abhorrent, will derail any hope for a return to peace and I condemn it.
I condemn the Hamas attack on Israeli citizens and grieve for all innocent lives lost.
Hamas is a declared terrorist organisation and Israel has a right to self-defence. I urge both sides to make the safety of civilians their first priority, and to carefully calibrate their next steps to avoid prolonged and escalating confrontation.
It is unconscionable that innocent civilians have been taken hostage and it is a priority for all nations with influence in the region to push to achieve their release including Australia and its allies.
I am thinking especially of those who have loved ones in Israel and the Palestinian Territories whose lives are at risk.
Recently I visited Israel and the Palestinian Territories and while it remains clear that only genuine dialogue can create progress and peace that dialogue increasingly seems further off than ever.
Last night I attended the Jewish solidarity gathering at the Caulfield Schule along with many Goldstein constituents in support of our community.
As a first step all hostages must be released without conditions and for humanitarian reasons.
I appeal to Israel to reconsider its decision to ban supplies to Gaza which will disproportionately affect civilians.
I have been in touch with Zionism Victoria, the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, and the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
I have also been in personal contact with the Israeli Ambassador to Australia, Amir Maimon, expressing my hopes for a swift resolution and a path to peace.