Australia berates Israel over 'shocking' attacks

Canberra - Australia's government on Tuesday made its strongest criticism yet of its staunch ally Israel over the month long war in Gaza, with the foreign minister calling the shelling of United Nations schools "indefensible".

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed a 72-hour cease-fire that began on Tuesday, and urged Israel to take all necessary steps to prevent civilian casualties.

"I am deeply troubled by the suffering being endured by the Palestinian population in Gaza, where many hundreds of innocent people have been killed, including women and children," Bishop said in a statement.

"There have been a number of shocking incidents, including the indefensible shelling of three UN schools, all of which were sheltering civilians."

Australia supports a full investigation into the incidents, Bishop said, adding that both Israel and Hamas must respect international humanitarian law.

Israel and Hamas on Monday accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal meant to halt a bruising war that has claimed nearly 2 000 lives, raising hopes that the bloodiest round of fighting between the bitter enemies could finally be coming to an end.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative government is a staunch ally of Israel, and angered Arab and Islamic countries in June by changing its description of East Jerusalem from "occupied" to "disputed".

Nin Ja Kitty 2014/08/05 08:52:30 AM
The Aussies have spoken. I think it is time that Israel stopped the totally unforgivable attacks.
mark1 2014/08/05 09:01:28 AM
I want to see Israel at The Hague for War Crimes......
VoxPopuli 2014/08/05 09:03:36 AM
Ag more BS! If Snowden leaks is to be believed, this is all an act to shut up the populace protesting at home and they'll continue to support israel behind the scenes!
Michael Tetley 2014/08/05 09:05:58 AM
Maybe Hamas should stop storing weapons in these schools and other places meant for peaceful civilian use! What about the rockets they fire, un-targeted into civilian areas of Israel? The Israeli strikes are intelligence driven, not random and reckless like those of Hamas.
Finya Ngendololwane 2014/08/05 09:07:50 AM
Soon Gaza tunnels will stretch to Iran Revolutionary Guards and Tehran. War makes people to devise surprising strategies
Will Homeby 2014/08/05 09:10:40 AM
In private they will go back to having unprotected sex.
Jurgen Eksteen 2014/08/05 09:15:24 AM
Dear Australia When the enemy is using civilian structures and areas to conduct military operations and attacks, it becomes a military target. You've got Hamas running around in civilian clothing, which by the way, is a GROSS violation of the Geneva Convention which states that soldiers must wear uniforms to distinguish themselves from the civilian population for exactly this situation. So wake up and smell the coffee ... Hamas is the only violator here. Did I mention that Hamas also prohibit civilians from leaving areas where they operate in order to cause casualties when the proverbial sh|T strikes the fan? Wake up!! You are condemning the wrong people ... you penal-colonial, delinquent, aborigine genocidal hypocrites!! Yours truly Logic & Sanity
mahomed 2014/08/05 09:16:38 AM
Israel's Iron Dome is Crumbling!
Cyberfriend 2014/08/05 09:21:42 AM
Well done Australia, they are a total disgrace to the human race.
Mark Cole 2014/08/05 09:23:33 AM
Hey Will,check your history again.There is no place called Palestine and there never has been.