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Tuesday, 12 November 1974
Page: 2248


Senator MULVIHILL (New South Wales) - I rise in this debate only because I think we all respect in many ways the feelings of Senator Baume and other honourable senators who have raised this issue of the recognition of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. But anybody who has studied the Middle East situation will find that there is a parallel between that position and the devastating strife in the industrial field at the present time. The ultimate aim is to get the conflicting parties around the table, and I do not say that in any platitudinous sort of way. As far as the state of Israel is concerned, one of the great tragedies today is that every time there is a conflict the armaments of war cost more. We know the terrific taxation that is imposed on the relatively small population of Israel. We know even this week of the internal crises which have occurred in Israel because ofthe heavy financial commitments that that country has undertaken.

I suppose that as a member of the Australian Labor Party and as a socialist there are many things on which I differ with Kissinger. But I think we all know- Senator Devitt pointed this out on an earlier occasion- the thankless task that Kissinger has had in trying to mediate in this very difficult situation. I say this to Senator Baume: I am certainly not an advocate of terrorism. I take him back through the corridors of time and refer him to what happened at the last Federal Conference of the Australian Labor Party. I know that now the Federal Conference of the Liberal Party has a virtually open door as we have had for a long while. It is no secret that the resolution which was sponsored by the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) on this much maligned policy of open-handedness urges that in every way the United Nations should be the mediator in the Middle East conflict. There were amendments to the resolution, some that could be deemed pro-Arab and others that could be deemed pro-Israel.

I know that all of us get emotional about certain facets of foreign policy. But the great tragedy is that the longer this armed truce continues in the Middle East the heavier will be the financial burden imposed on the state of Israel. I think that is undeniable. Although some formula may be adopted or a demilitarised zone may be agreed upon, I emphasise that ultimately there will have to be a sizeable United Nations force in the Middle East. I know that passions get inflamed when we get on to the question of occupancy of the west bank and the Palestine refugee problem. But I say respectfully that we must consider the high cost of armaments. The dilemma in which Israel finds itself is that without another war occurring, she could be bled white in the next 10 years. With the imposition of crippling taxation in order to maintain her existing defences. The only way in which Israel can get defence security initially is through some tacit agreement with the super powers which in turn have probably got to control some of the hotheads in the Arab fraternity. It is true that probably Jordan would be called a dove and some of the other Arab countries would be called hawks. But I say to Senator Baume that the attitude of the majority of the members of the Labor Party is: Where can the United Nations defuse the situation? Whether we like it or not, if the element within the Arab community which is adopting this take-all attitude is not calmed down, there will be trouble.

I return to the initial point I made in this debate about the parallel between the Middle East situation and the trade unions. We have to get all the parties talking around the table. I agree with Senator Baume that you could never allow the Golan Heights to be used for hostile artillery fire. Somewhere in the grey area the initiative has to be taken, whether by Kissinger or by the United Nations or by a middle power like Australia. I am thinking now of the role which the Scandinavian countries have always played in peacekeeping forces. I do not say this in order to provoke Senator Greenwood, but while we differed with him on the question of Australian troops in Vietnam, we have always believed in using Australian troops for genuine peace-keeping efforts, such as the Middle East one.

I conclude by saying this to Senator Baume: Nobody wants to see a little nation wiped off in some new concept of the Middle East. But candidly, in some way we have to defuse the situation. Otherwise, without any more wars at all, Israel will be virtually liquidated because of the cost of its current rearmament program which is necessary to enable it to survive. It may be that our tactics are wrong, But I return again to what Senator Devitt said on another occasion: Kissinger is a very effective manipulator, and I do not say that disparagingly. When I see the constant movements that he is making I realise that he has a very difficult job. I say respectfully that we must get some of these wild men around the table and we must convince them that they have to accept responsibilities, just as militant unions sometimes have to accept responsibilities when they appear before a judge. That is Dr Kissinger's motive. I know that is also in the minds of Senator Willesee and the Prime Minister.







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