SENATOR MITCH FIFIELD
Interview with Channel 7 News Melbourne
Rally for Israel & Peace
Parliament House, Melbourne
4 January 2009
E & OE
SUBJECTS: Israel / Gaza
What do you think of the turnout today?
SENATOR MITCH FIFIELD:
I think it’s a fantastic turnout of community members in Melbourne to show their support for Israel, to show their support for all in the Middle East region because that’s what we want in the Middle East, is peace on both sides of the border.
A lot of people have been saying that the Israeli Defence Force is perceived quite badly in the media as being the aggressors, how do you think (inaudible) it’s been, I suppose, for your cause?
Israel isn’t the aggressor in this situation. It’s important to remember that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 so Hamas can’t claim to be trying to defeat an occupying power. Israel makes no claim over Gaza. Israel wasn’t occupying Gaza. Israel is responding to 3,000 rockets which (inaudible) in 2008 alone. So this is simply an exercise of a nation protecting its citizens.
Obviously a massive Jewish community in Melbourne. Obviously the feeling is quite strong for people who still have family in Israel.
Absolutely. There’s a great deal of concern amongst the Jewish community in Melbourne about relatives back home. But there’s also a great concern amongst the Palestinian community for those in Gaza. And it’s important to remember that Hamas outrageously put their weapons in residential areas in Gaza, so there’s concern for civilians on both sides.
Are there more rallies planned?
Well this is the only rally that has taken place in Australia so far. Hopefully the conflict will be over very shortly and there won’t be a need for another rally. That’s what all of us hope for, is that there is an enduring peace. Not just a one-sided peace that allows more rockets into Israel, but that there’s an enduring peace on both sides.