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The Palestinian Authority must exercise its new control over the Gaza Strip in a responsible manner if it expects Israel to make further withdrawals, say Senator Brett Mason, Chair of the Australia-Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group, and Michael Danby MHR, the Deputy Chair.
“The sight of a Palestinian mob burning one of the synagogues left behind by the departing Jewish settlers will do nothing to reconcile public opinion in Israel to make further territorial concessions,” Senator Mason (Liberal, Queensland) said.
Senator Mason and Mr Danby (Labor, Victoria) said they supported the Israeli decision to withdraw from Gaza, and favoured the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the majority of the West Bank.
“But the Palestinian Authority faces a big test in Gaza,” Mr Danby said. “If the territory degenerates into lawlessness and mob rule, and if it is used as a base for terrorist groups to attack Israel, there will be no further progress towards Palestinian statehood.”
Senator Mason said “The Palestinian Authority must understand that the image of burning synagogues has painful historical associations for Israelis and for Jews everywhere, and that mob actions of this kind will harden Israeli attitudes toward further withdrawals.”
Mr Danby said that the Palestinian Authority needed to establish law and order in the territory and show that it could govern responsibly. “Most Israelis are willing to accept the idea of living alongside a Palestinian state,” he said. “But they will not accept a state which is controlled by gunmen and terrorists.”
Australia and other friends of the peace process needed to help the Palestinians establish an orderly government and suppress terrorism in Gaza as soon as possible, Mr Danby said.
For more information contract Senator Mason’s office on (07) 3422 1990 or Michael Danby’s office on (03) 9534 8126