Danby addresses Parliament on Dubai

March 15, 2010 by J-Wire Staff
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Michael Danby spoke in Parliament last week about the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

J-Wire reproduces his address:

Michael Danby

I want to say something briefly about the situation in the Middle East. There’s been a lot of recent attention given to the assassination of the senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. I don’t know who killed Mr Mahmoud. The only people arrested in connection with the assassination, Ahmad Hasnin and Anwar Shekhaiber, are Fatah members. Frankly, just like the murderer of Australians who met his end tody in Jakarta, Dulmatin, I would have preferred him to have been brought to trial. But as the President of Indonesia and the Prime Minister indicated in the case of Dulmatin, the world is better off without him. If Australian passports were used by a friendly country like Israel, it was, as the Australian government says, wrong and a mistake. Our relationship between Israel and Australia is too deep, too longstanding and too friendly for this one particular incident to disturb our friendship in the long term.

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh lived by violence, and his violent end, whoever was responsible for it, was not surprising. In 1989 he responsible for the abduction and murder of two Israeli soldiers, Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa’adon, whose murders he celebrated by standing on one of the corpses to be photographed.


Murdered Israeli soldiers, Avi Sasportas & Ilan Sa’adon. Picked up as hitchhikers by Mabhouh who was posing as an Orthodox Jew

It is surprising that his interview on al-Jazeera boasting of these murders made just two weeks before his death has not been reported by the Australian media. He was wanted for murder in Israel, Egypt and Jordan. He was Iran’s senior agents in Gaza, and has played a central role in linking Hamas with the Al-Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards in Iran.

However, like the Goldstone commission and all of the side issues brought up by people who want to denigrate Australia’s relationship with Israel, this passport affair is, in a sense, a side issue. We have seen much more important and very positive developments happening thanks to the tireless work of Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. Now proximity talks will take place between Israel and the Palestinians are about to resuming after many months of stalemate. This is a very encouraging development, as Treasurer Wayne Swan noted last night at a big public meeting that he spoke at in Melbourne.

I congratulate both Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority for having the courage to resume talks without preconditions.

Of course, we’ve had many false starts and false dawns in the Middle East before. In 2000, President Bill Clinton and Labour Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a Palestinian state on 90% of the West Bank, plus Gaza. Yasser Arafat turned it down, ostensibly on the issue of the so-called right of return, but really because he feared the loss of his own status if a genuinely democratic Palestinian state was established. What a tragedy that was, what a golden opportunity for peace lost.

Since then we have had the years of the so-called Second Intifada, with nearly 800 Israelis killed by suicide bombers, many of them launched by Mahmoud al-Mabhouh friends in Hamas. The derided Israeli security fence has halted that campaign of homicide bombers last year. If you are an Israeli citizen you will have taken a lot of notice of the fact that not one single life has been lost since the fence has been in place. Of course, this useless campaign of violence achieved absolutely nothing for the Palestinian people. Not an inch of land was gained.

When I look at this map of 98% of the West Bank which was offered by Prime Minister Olmert of Israel recently to Mr Abbas I think that sometimes the aphorism of the famous Israeli foreign minister Abba Eban-that the Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity-is true. But we always have to be rational and accommodating. We always have to try to encourage the parties to try to reach a solution to the Middle East problem. The solution, as we all know and as Australia has supported in the United Nations, is the partition of Palestine into two states-an Arab Palestinian state next to a Jewish state.

I hope and pray that this time we will see a more realistic attitude on all sides, and a genuine and lasting peace attained for all the peoples of the Middle East. Australian’s genuinely interested in peace will look forward to these negotiations producing a productive result. I seek leave to table a copy of the map of 98.5 per cent of the West Bank.

93.00% of the Territories & 5.5% Land Swaps = 98.5%

Michael Danby is a Labour Federal MP representing Melbourne Ports


2 Responses to “Danby addresses Parliament on Dubai”
  1. Tommy Lamm says:

    Danby on Dubai. Well said!!.A very capable and sensible parliamentarian.

  2. Emes says:

    Danby’s speech is magnificent. It is about time that the PM consider Mr Danby for a ministerial role. He would be an immense asset to the Cabinet.

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