Updated Statement on Hamas attacks on Israel and Gaza

I stand with the Australian government in condemning the Hamas attack on Israeli citizens and grieve for all innocent lives lost.

Applauding the deaths of innocent people is uncivilised, unhelpful to any hope for a return to peace and I condemn it.

I condemn the atrocities committed on Israeli citizens and now coming to light. They are appalling and grotesque breaches of human rights.

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.

On Monday I attended the Jewish community gathering at the Caulfield Shul along with many Goldstein constituents to express my personal grief for all innocent lives lost and condemn the Hamas attacks.

As a first step all hostages must be released without conditions by Hamas.

I also appeal to Israel to reconsider its decision to ban humanitarian supplies to Gaza which will disproportionately affect civilians.

I have been in contact with the major Jewish organisations, 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, stating that my thoughts are with him, his team and the people of Israel and expressing my hopes for a swift resolution and a path to peace.


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