Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has called out Hamas for being “brutal rapists and murderers” and said Israel “has an obligation” to defend and protect its citizens.
Speaking in Parliament, Lambie said she doesn’t pretend to be an expert on the Israel–Palestinian conflict, “but I know a criminal act when I see one”.
“I would not call Hamas fighters. I wouldn’t even call them militants,” she said. “I wouldn’t give them any credibility whatsoever, because basically they are brutal rapists and murderers. They are criminals who murder young people at a music festival. They are criminals who murder mothers and fathers and they are criminals who murder children and babies.
“I would ask the media to listen to what I have to say. Call Hamas what they are.”
Lambie added that Hamas has no interest in achieving freedom for Palestinians when it “openly rejects negotiated peace in favour of jihad against all Jews”.
“Hamas don’t only say they want to wipe out the State of Israel; they say they want to kill all Jews,” Lambie said.
“This is what they mean when they say ‘from the river to the sea’. These are not words of freedom fighters. They are the words of a terrorist, a coward, a murderer.”
Labor Minister for Home Affairs Clare O’Neil, who was in Caulfield for a Friday night service last week, said she hears the concerns and anxieties of the Jewish community. “I’ve sat with people in recent days who have told me that they’re too afraid to send their children to their Jewish school, that there are young people who will not put on their Jewish school uniform at the moment because they are so fearful of antisemitism, of violence and attacks,” O’Neil said in Parliament.
O’Neil also acknowledged her party colleagues Mark Dreyfus, Josh Burns and Mike Freelander.
“Like most Jewish Australians, they feel what has happened so deeply and so keenly.
“To see people attacked for their religion is a horrible and terrifying thing, but particularly for this community and particularly given the history. I want to thank those three people in particular for the leadership that they’ve shown and for the advice that they’ve given me over recent days about how to handle this matter.”