CONFLICT IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Australia is gravely concerned by escalating conflict in the Middle East.
The Government condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately.
Australia supports Israel's right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks. Such attacks on Israel's civilian population are utterly unacceptable.
Further escalations in rocket attacks from Gaza, such as those seen overnight, will not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or their cause for self-determination and statehood.
We urge both Hamas and Israel to exercise restraint and to protect the lives of civilians.
The Government of Australia will work earnestly with other countries to end further attacks from Gaza and to encourage a de-escalation of this conflict. We encourage regional countries, particularly Egypt, to support efforts to restore peace.
The only way forward is a two-state solution based on direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.
16 NOVEMBER 2012
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