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Tuesday, 12 September 1972
Page: 1241

Mr Garrick (BATMAN, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice:

(1)   Has his attention been drawn to a report in the Australian Jewish News of Nth July 1972 in which Dr El-Hafez, President of the Committee of Foreign Affairs of the Lebanese Parliament, and at that date a guest of his Department, in commenting on accusations that armed men, using Lebanon as a security haven, launch attacks on Israel or areas controlled by Israel, was reported as saying that there are Palestinian refugees living in Lebanon but denying that they, are terrorists, that there is a resistance movement which has a right to fight for Palestine but denying that they receive help from Government of Lebanon and denying also that the Government has any responsibility to police their infiltration into neighbouring 'occupied Palestine' which he believes is the responsibility of the Israeli Police.

(2)   If so, does the Government support these views.

(3)   Has the Government indicated its support for the view that the Government of Lebanon is entitled to shelter the so-called resistance movement without any obligation to prevent their incursion into the neighbouring territory of Israel and their return to the sanctuary of Lebanese territory.

(4)   Has the Government considered whether the attitude attributed to Dr El-Hafez on the inadmissibility, of intervention in the domestic affairs of states and the protection of their independence and sovereignty is contrary to the Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly, 1965, Article 2; if so, what view did he take.

Mr N H Bowen (PARRAMATTA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   The report has been drawn to my attention.

(2)   , (3) and (4) It is not the Government's practice to prejudice its good relations with the Arab States and Israel by offering partisan comment or seeking to apportion blame for incidents arising out of the Arab-Israeli dispute. The Government's position is well understood by both parties to the dispute, and presumably also by the honourable member.

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