Gaza conflict (7.08.2014)

Written on the 7 August 2014


Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- Over the last month graphic images have been broadcast in our media of casualties caused by the Middle East conflict involving Israel and Gaza.

While it is absolutely shocking to witness any casualties of war, but particularly the innocent children who have been caught up in this conflict, no country should have to live under constant rocket fire. It has been reported that in the last three weeks Israel has had over 3000 rockets fired at it by the known terrorist organisation Hamas.

I am making this statement because just over a year ago I had the opportunity to visit Israel. It was an extraordinary experience to visit this geographically small, democratic and resilient country, which has achieved so much in a relatively short period of existence.

I also visited and met people living in Sderot, a town very close to Gaza, which is currently under rocket fire, and which has been constantly under attack for years. The heartfelt stories of people living under constant attack still resonates with me today:

. . . of parents having to choose which child to take to a shelter if they were travelling in a car when an alert went off, of children only being able to play in confined spaces with the protection of concrete play shelters in the shape of giant caterpillars, of houses having their own bomb shelters and of street shelters every 100 metres or so.

Why?

Because people only have 15 seconds from the time an alert goes off to the time they have to find shelter. That is the reality of daily life for the people of Sderot.

Along with the world community, I want this conflict to end. As much as we all want peace in the region, I also acknowledge the right of Israel to exist and defend itself.

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