Forgiveness, coexistence, non-violence keys to Israel-Palestine peace

Published on Mon 24 May 2021 2:30pm

Mr Wilson (4:30pm) – Deputy Speaker, the violence in Israel and the Palestinian territories that occurred over the past fortnight was awful and barbaric. It’s a mercy there is now a ceasefire in place. Those who have suffered and still suffer – whether from rockets in Israel or from airstrikes in Gaza are inevitably civilians, and many of them are children, more than 60 children in Gaza were killed.

The airstrikes followed from the rockets, but are not justified by the rockets, just as the rockets followed from the bullets in the Al Aqsa mosque, and are not justified by that violence. The airstrikes are wrong, the rockets are wrong, the displacement and oppression of Palestinians is wrong. The illegal settlement of their land is wrong, and the existential threats to Israel are wrong.

What is clear is that without genuine progress towards a just and stable two-state solution, this cycle of oppression and violence will continue. Civilians will bear the brunt and children will die. To break from that pattern requires something that will always be dismissed as naive, even though it’s the only solution, namely, a radical politics of forgiveness, coexistence and non-violence.

With a ceasefire in place, Australia should provide as much humanitarian support as we can. And Australia should always be in the game of urging the Palestinian leadership, and especially the Government of Israel because it’s the most influential actor in this conflict, to make special efforts to decrease tension, end the occupation, and live side-by-side together in peace.

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