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Tuesday, 19 November 1974
Page: 2477

Senator CARRICK - My question, which is directed to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, refers to the growing threats to the future survival of the State of Israel arising, amongst other ways, from inflammatory statements by the Palestine Liberation Organisation and other Arab sources that Israel must be destroyed, and also to the increasing financial and military capacity of Middle East areas to mount substantially larger military campaigns. I ask: In the face of these threats, which imperil not only Israel but also potentially the safety, peace and security of all world nations, will the Minister give an outright assurance that Australia gives unqualified support for the continued sovereignty of Israel on secure and viable boundaries, that Australia will take vigorous action within the United Nations to ensure that that body strongly reasserts its wholehearted support for Israeli sovereignty and that Australia is willing, if necessary, to act in association with other nations in a United Nations peacekeeping force to ensure that sovereignty? Finally, is the Minister satisfied that the existing United Nations peace keeping forces in the Middle East could play any role at all in stopping a new outbreak, or alternatively, are they merely border keeping bodies?

Senator WILLESEE -The last question really seeks an opinion, which I do not feel competent to give, about whether the peacekeeping forces could be effective, I think they could be effective under certain circumstances but not if a conflagration got right out of hand. Largely the answer to the thrust of Senator Carrick 's question is yes. I have some background notes here that may be of interest. We have to realise that probably a new situation is emerging following the Arab summit conference at Rabat. The Palestine Liberation Organisation has been recognised by the Arab countries as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. This has been even further enhanced by the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to permit the PLO to participate in the General Assembly's debate on the Palestine issue.

Honourable senators know that the leader of the PLO, Mr Yasser Arafat, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on 13 November. In addressing the United Nations General Assembly on 7 October I said that a peaceful settlement in the Middle East must involve acceptance of the existence of the State of Israel in a permanent and secure condition of life, and equally that the Palestinians should have proper treatment, permanent homes and secure hopes. These remain the views of the Government. The Government continues to support the terms of Security Council Resolution 242 of 22 November 1967 as providing the basis for a just and lasting peace in the Middle East by which every State in the area can live in security. I think I speak for everybody in this place when I say that we are very concerned about the heightening tension in the Middle East at the moment. We hope that this can be dampened down and that we do not have yet another Middle East war.

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