Continuing with efforts to garner international support and understanding for Operation Protective Edge, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu phoned Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott Monday to explain the campaign’s goals.
Australia, whose government is staunchly pro-Israel, is currently a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.
Netanyahu’s conversation with Abbott, one of a series he has had over the last few days with the world’s leaders, followed a very “balanced” statement made by Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, which one Israeli official said sounded “almost European” in its striving for “balance.”
Australia, she said, “has been calling on both sides to cease the retaliatory action, to cease the rockets being fired by militants into Israel, and for a ceasefire to take place because of course there are civilian deaths and injuries. And this is a deeply, deeply unfortunate and regrettable situation and we just hope for the safety of everyone in that part of the world that a cease-fire can be implemented.”
Netanyahu told Abbott Israel is operating to defend its civilians from a terror organization that is firing indiscriminately, while hiding behind civilians in Gaza and using them as human shields. Netanyahu defined the goals of the operation as restoring quiet and delivering a significant blow to Hamas’s terror infrastructure.
Diplomatic officials denied that the phone call with Abbott had anything to do with Bishop’s statement, and that this was the first time Netanyahu has had the opportunity to talk to the Australian leader since the operation began a week ago.
The statement most unequivocally supportive of Israel to date came Sunday from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Harper said the “indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region.”
Harper said that failure by the international community to condemn “these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict.”
“Canada is unequivocally behind Israel,” he said.