Australia’s ambassador to Israel supports peace campaign

December 18, 2013 by  
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Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma has held a function at his home in support of the campaign “One Million Hands for Peace”.
Show of Hands

Show of Hands

Among those attending were Noam Shalit, MK Omer Barlev, Dr Oscar Embon – Director of Ziv Medical Center, Yigal Sela, Garry Stock and Prof Nathan Cherny, despite  torrential rain which necessitated guests receiving towels as they arrived.
‘One Million Hands for a Peace Agreement` (`One Million Hands`) provides the Israeli public with a platform for supporting a political agreement with the Palestinians using social media and events.
Ambassador Dave Sharma

Ambassador Dave Sharma

According to recent polls, 67 percent of Israeli citizens support a political agreement with the Palestinians, however their voice is rarely heard. The campaign urges the public to voice their support for an agreement in order to strengthen the position of the Israeli government in signing an agreement by April 2014.

The One Million Hands campaign was initiated privately by three Israelis, who served in the IDF in combat units, each of them representing a spectrum of political views: Ziv Cohen, a landscape architect, is left wing, Dr Dror Ben-Ami, a zoologist, is traditionally right of centre and Guy Pross, an energy/infrastructure consultant, holds a centrist view.

Prior to hosting the launch of the new campaign Australian Ambassador Dave Sharma expressed his thoughts: “Any leader who is about to make a difficult or risky decision needs to know that the people are behind and supportive of him/her. Support from the majority of the Israeli public for an agreement will enhance civic awareness and demonstrate to all politicians that this issue should be prioritized.

“The agreement signed with Iran in Geneva should not affect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians”, explains Sharma.

‘One Million Hands` does not propose to define the conditions for an agreement. According to polls, most Israelis trust their democratically elected Prime Minister to conduct negotiations on the details of an agreement in order to best represent the interests of the State of Israel. This can be demonstrated by the support of the public following the agreements reached by former Prime Ministers Begin and Rabin. 

Ambassador Sharma added: “The campaign is not meant to provide solutions and conditions, but rather is intended as a building block to raise the issue and help the government achieve its aims. Naturally, there are difficult decisions and complex trade-offs to be made. An assurance of security for Israel can assist the sides in reaching a solution”.

“One Million Hands was inspired by a similar Australian campaign, ‘Sea of Hands’, that called for reconciliation with the Australian indigenous people following discrimination and mistreatment against them, which led to the dispossession of their land. Perhaps the Israeli campaign can have a similar impact and lead to reconciliation in the region?
Ambassador Sharma, who expressed a desire to see a similar campaign launched by the Palestinians, stated that: “While the campaigns are similar, there is a difference between the two cases. `Sea of hands’ in Australia was a sort of ‘marriage’ reconciling all Australians, while an agreement between the Palestinians and Israel is more of an amicable divorce”.

The Ambassador added: “The Australian Government does not have any desire to tell Israel what should be done or how. We are friends of Israel and want you to know that we support the Israeli government, regardless of who is in power. We support Israel’s efforts to negotiate an agreement and are here to help you achieve your objectives.

I personally find it very important to support the One Million Hands campaign. Both countries – Australia and Israel, are democracies, learning from each other. I like the idea of a friend reaching out to help another friend, not in a didactic way but as a show of support.”

Comments

One Response to “Australia’s ambassador to Israel supports peace campaign”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    The insanity of this scenario where well meaning people line up, smile for the cameras and hold up their hands and then think that by this act they are strengthening the position of the Israeli Government to sign an agreement is mind boggling. This fantasyland hallucination will have just the opposite effect and make the Palestinians more intransigent than ever.

    Campaigns like this make Jews look pathetic, so why should the PA be at all conciliatory now, especially when they appear to have their enemies on their knees begging for something to be signed by April 2014?

    Israel once held all the cards but has squandered each and every one of them in its headlong rush to indulge the PA’s ludicrous claims by appeasing a people who historically speaking never existed.

    Abbas & Co. have made it quite clear that they will never recognise a Jewish State.

    Below are some facts that need to be digested, once and for all.

    Jews have, for a dubious halachic ruling after the 1967 war (such ruling not being universally accepted today), declared the Temple Mount off limits, a site where the Palestinians play soccer and have their picnics. Decades of this off limits ruling has led the PA to brazenly declare that there were never Jewish Temples on the site where the Dome of the Rock mosque now stands.
    But this lie is apparently OK and barely challenged in the headlong rush to sign something by April 2014.

    The indoctrination of Palestinian children in hate continues unabated. Every Palestinian child has had drummed into its brain that “Jews are the offspring of pigs and apes.” This is apparently OK also with never a demand that this indoctrination must cease.

    Succumbing to pressure from that current resident of the Oval Office, murderers were released to somehow beg the PA to come back to the negotiating table. The only outcome of this gesture was that these scum of humanity who committed the most heinous crimes were given a heroes welcome on their release and praised for their deeds. That apparently is OK too. We will all raise our hands, a million if possible, for peace in our time.

    Jews are forever demanding that the Israeli Government make concession after concession but barely even register a harsh word for that intransigent, lying and hateful adversary known as the Palestinian Authority.

    It is time for Israel to act like a sovereign power in control of its own destiny. Should there be another war which is a distinct possibility it will have profound implications. Israel must not allow it to end prematurely or inconclusively like all the others in the past due to world pressure. This one has to end with the unconditional surrender of the enemy on Israel’s terms. This time the gloves should come off, the IAF unleashed with none of those ludicrous advanced warnings and with no targets off limits.