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Thursday, 25 October 1973
Page: 1509

Senator O'BYRNE (Tasmania) -In the brief time which is at my disposal in this debate I would just like to draw attention to the subjectivity of the approach that has been taken not only by Senator Little but also by Senator Kane who moved the motion we are debating. In his remarks he called on the Australian Government to use its influence in the Security Council to bring world pressure to bear on Egypt and Syria to withdraw their forces behind the 1967 ceasefire lines. That was a partisan approach particularly in view of the resolution that had already been carried in the United Nations. It follows that we on this side of the chamber must stress Australia 's continued maintenance of neutrality and an even handed policy in the Middle East and continued support for the Security Council resolution 242 as an acceptable basis for a just and lasting settlement in the Middle East. I think it is proper that I should reiterate some parts of the text of Resolution 242 of 1967 to which Senator Little did not refer. I emphasise particularly that all member states of the United Nations in their acceptance of its Charter have undertaken a commitment to act in accordance with Article 2, which is concerned with world peace. I read paragraph I of the Resolution:

1   . Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:

(i)   Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

That has never been achieved. The occupied lands conquered by the Israelis in the 1967 war have never been vacated. The 1 .3 million Palestinian refugees are still homeless and have never been able to return to their homeland, yet we are trying to allocate blame and specifically to pick out who started the war. I will refer to that a little later. The United Nations Resolution goes on:

(ii)   Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgment of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force;

2.   Affirms further the necessity:

(a)   For guaranteeing freedom of navigation through international waterways in the area;

Here I would like to refer to the closure of the Suez Canal, which is an abrogation of Resolution 242. The text goes on:

(b)   For achieving a just settlement of the refugee problem;

The refugee problem is still festering throughout the whole of the Arab countries. The text continues:

(c)   For guaranteeing the territorial inviolability and political independence of every State in the area, through measures including the establishment of demilitarised zones;

Senator Kanesaid that there are 2 fundamental questions: How did the war begin and why did the war begin. He said that the answer to the first question was that it began with a premeditated and unprovoked attack on Israeli positions. Of course the situation is that the war began in the times before Christianity. There have been continuing wars right throughout the history of the Middle East area. The war could be said to have begun in 1933 with the pogrom of the Germans against the Jewish people in Europe. Anyone who saw with his own eyes the persecution and the degradation of these people in Europe realises the emotion and ' the compassion of members of the United Nations when eventually they were able to come to grips with finding a solution to this age-long problem of the Jewish people.

The Jewish people have been inspired by the scriptural belief that they were children of Israel and that they would return. I suppose this could apply to all people throughout the Middle East because at some time or other they have had relatives or ancestors who have resided in the Holy Land or they have had contact with the Holy Land through this common allegiance to Mohammed. Senator Kane said that the answer to the second question as to how the war in the Middle East began was that it was started by Egypt, backed by Syria, because the Arab states were trying to achieve on the battlefield what they had been unable to achieve in the 6 years of maneouvering in the diplomatic and political arenas. How subjective can one be? Senator Kane made a judgment on 1 1 October. He finds now, on 25 October, that he has to move an amendment to alter his position because he knows very well that there can be no possible settlement of this dispute while the Israelis occupy the Sinai peninsula.

Senator Little - They will never cease to occupy it without the guarantees which they have been seeking for 6 years.

Senator O'BYRNE - They will cease to occupy it because that is conquest. In this day and age the world has learnt that it cannot win anything by conquest. Wars have to be outlawed and the people who supply arms to small nations to provoke wars should also be outlawed. The two super powers are aiding and abetting this bloodbath, this loss of humanitarianism which exists throughout the world towards these people and the loss of all the things which have been built up over a period of years of sacrifice. All this is being lost now because the super powersfor whatever purpose- have made it possible for these death dealing sophisticated weapons to be matched against these nations. These are not the wars of the religions or holy wars of a kind that have happened in the past. These are deathly final wars in which no quarter is given and no quarter taken. This lifts the situation to the level which man had hoped would never be reached again after the experience of the 1939-45 war and even the war which has just been settled in South East Asia. I look at this problem as being one in which we must confirm Australia's belief in the maintenance of a neutral and even-handed policy in the Middle East and a continued support of resolution 242 which we supported in 1947. We have constantly asked for a just and lasting peace for the Jewish people after their Gethsemane of Europe. We hoped that they would live in this land which had been given to them compassionately by the rest of the world. They had no rights to Israel. It was given to them by the other nations of the world.

Senator Little - They would have the same rights as the Aborigines have -

Senator O'BYRNE - They had no rights to Israel whatever. After all, it was given to them by the United Nations.

Debate interrupted.

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