THE Greens “have again shown their poor grasp of the realities of the Middle East”, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim said.
The remarks were part of a scathing response to Greens leader Richard Di Natale’s media statement last week concerning the events at the Israel-Gaza border.
As reported by The AJN last week, Di Natale accused Israel of using excessive force “against Palestinians exercising their legitimate right to engage in non-violent protest”.
Wertheim responded this week, “The Palestinian attempts to tear down the Gaza border barrier and storm into Israel were anything but ‘non-violent’.
“There is a hypocritical silence from the Greens about Hamas’s use of women and children as human shields to provide cover for their fighters who were armed with explosives, incendiary devices and AK-47 assault rifles.
“Hamas published maps indicating the civilian population centres within Israel that it would attack if the attempts to breach the border fence had been successful. The death toll would have been far higher if Israel had not used lethal force to stop them.”
Di Natale expressed his distress last week that “almost 100 mostly unarmed Palestinian protestors have reportedly been killed by Israeli forces since the end of March on the border with Gaza, including at least four minors and two journalists”.
He added, “It is deplorable that the Liberal and Labor parties have remained silent in the face of the Israeli Government’s excessive use of force. What will it take for them to speak up? They must condemn this disproportionate response against Palestinians exercising their legitimate and important right to engage in non-violent protest.”
The Victorian Senator also took aim at the relocation of the United States embassy to Jerusalem and called for the major parties “to recognise the state of Palestine alongside the state of Israel.”
The AJN provided Di Natale with two pieces of evidence this week showing the protests were violent and the majority killed last Monday were terrorists, and asked him if he still stood by his earlier statement.
One was a video of Hamas political bureau member Salah Al-Bardawil claiming 50 of the dead were Hamas operatives, the other evidence of a Facebook page encouraging protesters to bring knives, daggers and handguns and to abduct Israelis once the fence was breached.
A response was not received by press time.