At a media conference in Phnom Penh

November 21, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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Australian Prime Minister is in Cambodia where she fielded questions about the current situation involving Israel and Gaza at a media conference…..


Prime Minister Julia Gillard

JOURNALIST:  Prime Minister, when you spoke about the Gaza conflict earlier today and said Israel had a right to defend itself. But in the past 24 hours Israel has fired on a building in Gaza which houses Palestinian and international media. Does that constitute just defending itself or does it go further than that?


PM: Israel does have a right to defend itself and Israel has taken incoming rocket fire from Gaza launched by Hamas and others so Israel does have a right to defend itself.


When I spoke to you earlier today too I talked about the need for restraint and doing everything possible to avoid civilian casualties and I put that view to the Prime Minister of Israel when I spoke to him on Friday.


JOURNALIST: So do you consider that the responsibility for restraint falls on both sides and not only on the Palestinian side?


PM: Certainly the responsibility to avoid civilian casualties lies on everyone which is why when you see rocket fire from Gaza into populated areas of Israel, what you are seeing is rockets that are being launched at civilians.


So the responsibility to avoid civilian casualties lies on everyone. There’s hope now to try and de-escalate this conflict. We’ve got the very strong engagement of the United States, of Egypt, of the UN Secretary General and what I would hope is that everybody is able to participate in those discussions to give diplomacy some time to do its work.


JOURNALIST: By the tone of your language though, you do sound as though you consider that the Hamas and the Palestinians are responsible for this state of this conflict. Is that an accurate summation of your view?


PM: Well I think we could have a long and theological debate about issues in the Middle East stemming back hundreds indeed thousands of years if we had the time to do it, but talking about now, clearly what we saw from Hamas and others in Gaza was the launching of rockets into Israel. This is where this started and Israel responded, Israel has a right to defend itself. So that’s my position and the view of the Australian Government.


Having said that, of course if we can see this conflict de-escalated then you would want to see that and I’m sure we’d all share that hope, and there are now very many who are very active in trying to secure that outcome.



2 Responses to “At a media conference in Phnom Penh”
  1. Shirlee. says:

    I wonder if she’ll take Bob Carr to task?

  2. Halina says:

    This conversation is not stating clearly the situation. For years there was no war between the State of Isreal and Gaza. Israel wisdrew all Israeli citizens and settled them back in the country when Sharon was the head of the army.When Hamas had assumed the leading role in Gaza bombarding with rockets commenced.The closest to the border Israeli towns Sderot and Askelon were under barrage through days and nights.This is going for years, making life of the inhabitants a true hell. Children could not leave the homes in which the “strong rooms” were created for them. The kindegartens were wholly run in the underground shelters, as the sirens anouncing the rocket approaching were giving only 15 seconds for finding the shelter. I came by a pure coincidence in contact with an Australian journalist who have just returned from Sderot. I couldn’t believe in her stories. Some other people returning from visits to Israel confirming this adding all sort of horror storie how this strees made children fretful and unable to concertrate.Trying to defend themselves Israeli tried to eliminate the stores of these rockets as well as destroing the place from which the shelling was coming. The were usually close to groups of Palestinian women with little children, The British journalist was yesterday quoted by ABC News stating that the number of rockets thrown on Israel in last four days was greater than the whole bombardment of London during WWII. Israel just want to sto p these rockets, which trough the years become more sofisticated and difficult to detect before they burst.Israel has now divice to interceptt the approaching rockerts, but it catches only around 30% of them.

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