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Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2107

Senator LILLICO (TASMANIA) - I ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs: Is it not a fact that the real aggressor in the Middle East is the Soviet Union and that it has supplied and is supplying Arab nations aggregating 100 million or more people with the latest weapons and technical advice as to how to use them in an attempt to subdue a tiny nation of 2.5 million to 3 million people. Is it not time that this Government and the rest of the free world abandoned its policy of cowardly neutrality in view of the despicable attempt on the integrity of the small nation that I have mentioned? Is it not also true that the supply of arms by the United States of America to Israel was entirely necessary because it enabled that country to resist this aggression? Will the Government give fresh consideration to its attitude in this matter?

Senator WILLESEE -The honourable senator asked me whether the real aggressor in the Middle East is the Soviet Union. I do not think that the position is quite as simple as that.

Senator Lillico - Oh, yes.

Senator WILLESEE -There is a difference of opinion. The honourable senator thinks that the real aggressor, wholly, and solely, is the Soviet

Union. I think that there is a much more complicated situation. There is no doubt that for a long time the Soviet Union has been backing the Arab States and has given some war materials to them. Also, the Americans have flown materials into Israel. These are the facts of the case. There are rights and wrongs on both sides involved in this conflict. Until those rights and wrongs are removed completely we will not have peace in the Middle East. I made it very clear, as the platform of the Australian Labor Party makes it very clear, in my speech the other night on the motion moved by Senator Kane that there are 2 main ingredients to a solution of the Middle East situation: Firstly, the countries in that area must realise that Israel has a perfect right to live in peace and harmony behind secured borders. Secondly, Israel must leave the occupied territories which she holds at the present moment.

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