I am personally devastated at the violence and terror that has taken place above the homes of people who deserve peace and prosperity – across the region. Any loss of civilian lives – siblings, children, parents – any loved one – is heartbreaking and completely intolerable.
I have visited Israel – and I know of its people, its culture, its pride and its history. In a complex and crowded Middle East, Israel has been, and will always be, a safe haven to the Jewish people.
Israel has a right to defend itself – and keep its people safe against the thousands of rockets that blacken its skies, and the Palestinian people should be able to live in a world of opportunity and prosperity, with stability and certainty. These things should be able to occur together, which only makes what we’ve seen in recent days so incredibly and increasingly distressing.
I condemn the actions of Hamas, conducting terrorist activities which put the lives of millions across the entire region at risk. It’s despicable – there is no justification.
After almost two unbearable weeks of violence and unspeakable fear – we hope that this ceasefire has a lasting effect, and that all efforts are directed to rebuilding homes, livelihoods, and, however intricate and difficult, rebuilding efforts towards a lasting and peaceful resolution.
This government is a true friend of Israel – and I know I join with communities in Melbourne – and across the world – when I say we are so deeply relieved a ceasefire has been reached, as delicate as it may be, and so wholly wish for an enduring peace built with mutual tolerance and respect.