[Editor’s Note: I reproduce this letter sent 8 years ago to Kevin Rudd who was then Shadow Foreign Minister. It was sent by an up-and-coming member of the ALP and energetic supporter of the ‘two-state-solution’. Subsequently Hizbollah did kick Israel out of Lebanon and Hamas did win a democratic election in Gaza despite a coup attempt by US backed Fatah faction leader Mohammed Dahlan. The US never liked the people getting their say. Both Rudd and his ALP critic both claimed to be in favour of the two-state solution [in Palestine, not Iraq (sic)]. Where lies there solution now, in a bomb crater in Gaza City? There is only silence from both the sender and the recipient of the letter. ]
Letter to Kevin Rudd from Labor member in 2006
I must say I was disappointed in your biased response to the Lebanon/Israeli conflict on ABC radio this morning.
Yes, you are right to condemn oganisations such as Hamas and Hezbollah, but your failure to also condemn Israel for its collective punishment of the Lebanese people was very telling indeed.
You mentioned that Hezbollah has instigated this latest conflict – but is the response justified?
Isn’t there a real possibility that the relentless bombing of Lebanon could also result in the deaths of their two kidnapped soldiers ? Of course I would be a cynic to think that there is another agenda at play here – while this conflict or any other for that matter takes hold in the region, Israel doesn’t have to address its breaches of UN security resolutions in occupied territories, namely the West Bank and the wall it is constructing that will cut the Palestinian people into segments.
Have you condemned Israel for refusing to install a cease fire so as foreign nationals can leave safely – no ? Of course not (I apologise if I have missed your condemnation). Have you condemned Israel for attacks in Gaza unprovoked?
I will be the first to defend Israel’s right to security and peace, but Israel has got to withdraw to its defined borders and address the issues surrounding Palestine, this I believe will address many of the problems. This will I believe also help nullify the delusional who want to see the destruction of Israel – not forgetting there are previous Israeli PM’s who have sworn to never see a Palestinian homeland (no doubt for economic and biblical reasons).
Kevin, I was part of the Irish Army deployment in Southern Lebanon (UNIFIL) for almost 2 years between 1982 – 1990. I was there when Israel invaded in 1982, this resulted in the birth of Hezbollah, many Lebanese people expressed they were the only people to protect them from constant Israeli fire when I returned in 1997, hardly a day went by without Israel and her defacto forces firing (mainly small arms fire) into and at civilian and UN positions / locations – unprovoked.
Of course when (and very rarely did it happen) there was a response from the Lebanese side, it was met with a far greater response, it gave Israel the belief it was justified in its actions.
I have watched Israeli soldiers fire indiscriminately into houses that were occupied by only women and children and we were not equipped or mandated to prevent such actions – at times these actions resulted in civilian and UN casualties.
It is no wonder we (ALP members) are seen as hypocrites – then again far better that, than upsetting the US.
While all sides of the conflict have to take blame and share responsibility, the largest blame belongs to the rest of us – the international community, especially US foreign policy for allowing this to continue, if the international community wanted to solve this conflict it could, but regrettably we need the US to take a lead, but that is highly unlikely as it would be seen as criticising its own foreign policy as it contributes billions of US $ in military aid to Israel.
This is about far more than the capture of soldiers belonging to the IDF (Israel Defence Force) – after all, there are “kidnappings” on both sides.
If the Berlin Wall can come down, so can barriers preventing this conflict, but the longer it is allowed to continue, the higher the barrier will be set – then again, to remove the barrier will result in a Palestinian homeland free of economic persecution.
Yes, I know there are far more pressing issues for us (the Labor Party) here at home in the quest to remove the Howard government.
Wed, 26 Jul 2006