Refusal to visit massacre sites sends the wrong message
16 January 2024, The Australian, Letters
Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s decision not to visit the southern Israeli towns where the October 7 massacres occurred is yet another slap in the face of Israel and Australia’s Jewish community (“Wong won’t visit site of Hamas atrocities”, 15/1).
It’s only about an hour or so drive from Jerusalem to Gaza that in the context of Hamas’s atrocities could have displayed solidarity with an ally still hurting from the attack, the soldiers lost in defending the country and the hostages still in captivity.
The death, destruction and horror inflicted on Israel need to be seen first-hand by politicians, in and out of government. Since that terror attack occurred, the Albanese government has been out of step with all Australians bar the radical left and militant Islamists.
It can’t keep insulting the electorate and expect to win support from mainstream Australians.
Alan Freedman, St Kilda East, Vic
Diplomacy is about nuance, subtlety and finesse. The decision by Penny Wong not to visit the southern Israeli townships where the October 7 massacre occurred sends a clear worldwide message that Australia does not regard the release of Israeli hostages as a priority.
To background journalists claiming the decision not to visit the site is due to “time constraints” is insulting to most Australians.
The trip has been planned for months. Indeed, it should have been undertaken last year.
It appears Australia’s Middle East foreign policy is more aligned to domestic political considerations than international relations.
Riley Brown, Bondi Beach, NSW
Australia’s reputation on the world stage as a reliable ally and trading partner seems to be becoming somewhat tarnished.
Denying a request by our largest ally, the US, to join a multinational seaborne taskforce by supplying just one warship sent a clear message to all of the perilous state of our defence force. Penny Wong is travelling to Israel but not making a first-hand inspection of the zone where current hostilities began.
The election of a new anti- China President in Taiwan has not as yet received well-deserved recognition of his achievement other than a statement from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. A threat by the Chinese ambassador to Australia to watch it or else in the lead-up to the Taiwan election has gone unchallenged.
Labor is rapidly making Australia out to be a mob of squibs, which we most certainly are not.
Mike Flanigan, Wellington Point, Qld
Show some leadership and stand up to bullies who denounce Israel’s right to defend itself and ignore the tragedy of October 7, Senator Wong.
Liz Pinczewski, Centennial Park, NSW
With Australia’s stocks in the Middle East at rock bottom after refusing the US request for naval support in the Red Sea, Penny Wong’s trip to the region is strictly for local consumption.
The depravity of the Hamas terrorists was revealed to readers by Gemma Tognini (“Maniacal hatred of Jews festers in cocoon of denial”, 6-7/1) and merited earlier visits by Australian MPs, but it would not go down well with the Labor Left faction Wong represents.
We will find headline reports of her visit in the local media but it will have no weight abroad.
John Morrissey, Hawthorn, Vic
Nova Peris’s integrity shines in calling for pro-Palestinian activists exploiting the Aboriginal flag to “understand history. Go learn it” (“Peris blasts pro-Palestinian use of Aboriginal flag”, 15/1).
The historical facts are: several prominent Jewish lawyers have been working hard for decades on behalf of significant Indigenous issues, from Mabo to the voice. Julian Leeser is a prime example of one who has let integrity guide him, albeit at considerable personal political cost.
Penny Wong declining to undertake a 180-minute round trip to gain a personal perspective of the atrocities stands with her refusal to prioritise a call for the release of the hostages who have had 100 days (so far) ripped from their lives. All she must do is make this call a condition for any “humanitarian ceasefire”. Wong makes ineffective platitudinous comments when personal integrity calls for the acknowledgment of the reality of Hamas’s refusal to release the hostages.
Ron Spielman, Paddington, NSW
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Article source: The Australian | Letters | 16 January 2024