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Human Rights Council – 21st Special Session
Special Session on ensuring respect for international law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem
23 July 2014
Australia is deeply worried by the major escalation in hostilities between Israel and militant groups in Gaza in recent days. We are seriously concerned about the growing number of casualties on both sides, including many Palestinian civilians, a significant number of Israeli soldiers and several Israeli civilians.
Everything possible should be done to prevent civilian casualties, and to limit the suffering of innocent people, including those displaced by the fighting. All sides must respect international humanitarian law.
The draft resolution as it stands is unbalanced and Australia cannot support it in its current form. It makes no references to Hamas’ causal role in this tragic situation. It is important to recall in this forum that Hamas and associated militant groups triggered this crisis. They have constantly launched rocket attacks on Israel, deliberately targeting Israeli civilians. Hamas also rejected the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proposal, to end this violence. This and continued rocket attacks led to the Israeli group operation in Gaza.
We support Israel’s right to defend itself in the face of such attacks. In doing so, Israel needs to take all necessary steps to prevent civilian casualties. Australia strongly supports efforts to secure an immediate ceasefire. Hamas must engage with international efforts to resolve this crisis.