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Anthony Albanese lashes Iran for ‘meddling’ in Israel-Hamas conflict

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11 January 2024, Herald Sun, by Courtney Gould

Anthony Albanese has blasted Iran for its “destructive” role in the Middle East, accusing the nation of medding” in the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Prime Minister made the remarks just hours after US and UK warships repelled the largest attack by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels on shipping in the Red Sea.

“Iran should stop meddling and Iran is playing a very destructive role in the region,” he told reporters in Melbourne on Thursday.

“Australia will continue to, through Penny Wong, make our position very clear. We want to make sure that there is not a widening of the conflict.”

“There have been too many innocent civilians in Israel and in Gaza affected by this conflict.”

The demand comes amid reports Foreign Minister Penny Wong used a phone call with her Iranian counterpart in October to urge Iran to preserve the peace in the region.

Senator Wong will travel to Israel and the West Bank next week.

The United Nations security council called for an immediate end to the attacks by the Houthi rebels on Wednesday.

The rebel group has said it will attack ships linked to Israel or bound for Israeli ports in support of Hamas. Many of the ships targeted, however, have had no links to Israel.

It comes as Australia was urged to publicly back legal action to determine whether Israel has committed genocide in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice, the United Nation’s top court, will this week begin hearing the South Africa brought case which Israel has rejected as baseless.

South Africa will argue the war on Hamas in Gaza violates the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Israel’s offensive has killed more than 23,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

The bombardment began after Hamas launched a surprise air, sea and ground attack on Israel, killing more than 1200 Israelis and 240 were taken hostage.

Independent senator David Pocock urged the Albanese government to support the case – and comply with any ruling the ICJ makes and enforcement.

“Given the extraordinary scale of civilian casualties and human suffering in Gaza and the serious allegations against Israel, I am strongly supportive of the need for a credible and robust examination of Israel’s conduct under the Genocide Convention,” he said in a statement.

“The case South Africa has brought in the International Court of Justice provides a mechanism for this through examination to occur in accordance with international law.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it would be “not appropriate” to comment on matters before the ICJ.

“The ICJ plays a critical role in upholding international law and the rules-based order, and Australia respects the independence of the ICJ and the judicial process.”

The hearings, to be held on Thursday and Friday (local time) at The Hague will deal with South Africa’s request for an interim court order to force Israel to suspend military operations in Gaza.

But the ruling while binding would be largely unenforceable – as demonstrated by the ICJ order for Russia to suspend its invasion on Ukraine in 2022.

Malaysia, Turkey, Jordan and Bolivia have made public statements in support of South Africa’s action.

Australia’s ambassador to the UN repeated calls for a “sustainable ceasefire” earlier this week.

“Such pauses are important steps towards a permanent and sustainable ceasefire,” James Larsen said in a speech that did not mention the ICJ application.

“Australia remains concerned about the potential for the conflict to spill over regionally.”

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Article source: 11 January 2024, Herald Sun, by Courtney Gould

2024-02-22 05:36:48.000000