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Statement by former PMs of Australia

Article’s tags: October 7, Australian Issues

Former Australian PMs, bar Keating, condemn 7 October attack, endorse two-state solution

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All former prime ministers of Australia, except Paul Keating, have co-signed a statement regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

The statement condemns the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israel, calls for the unconditional release of hostages taken by Hamas, and for sustained humanitarian access for Palestinians.

On the battlefield in Israel and Gaza we do not presume to give strategic advice to Israel. But the legitimate objective of defeating Hamas must be accompanied by support and protection for the civilian population of Gaza. Israel promises it will do all it can to avoid civilian casualties, we urge it to do so with all of its humanity and skill.

The former prime ministers also endorse a two-state solution “as the basis for long-term lasting peace between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples”.

The statement concludes:

At this time, more than ever, we must, in the words of the 34th Psalm ‘seek peace and pursue it’. And here at home that is done by defending our Australian values, condemning hate speech and intolerance and respecting the people of Australia in all our diversity.

It is signed by John Howard, Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison.

In a statement yesterday, Keating said he was contacted by Mark Leibler proposing the joint statement and asking for his agreement and signature.

I told Leibler in a written message that I would not be agreeing to join other former prime ministers in authorising the statement.

That remains my position.

Leibler is the former president of the Zionist Federation of Australia and current chairman of the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council.


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