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Israel on the horns of a dilemma

By Julie Bishop - posted Thursday, 22 November 2012


A question that I am often asked by Israelis is, "How many rockets would have to land on Australian soil before the public demanded action against the attacker?”

It is hard to think of a circumstance where any attack involving even a single rocket would not be met with a swift response from our military.

Israel has shown considerable restraint as hundreds of rockets and mortars have rained down on its territory during the course of this year.

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According to Israeli security reports, 173 rockets and 19 mortars were launched during the month of March alone.

It is rare for more than a few days to pass without an attack on various parts of Israel.

Militants in Gaza are using these tactics to terrorise and target Israeli civilians.

It has only been through the deployment of Israel's Iron Dome defence system that there have not been more casualties.

I have visited some of the Israeli cities and towns that represent the “front line" of the recent attacks.

Residents, school teachers and students told me their stories of escaping from harm's way by running to bomb shelters located in homes, on the streets and in other public areas.

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There are bomb shelters built near school bus stops and in playgrounds so that children can quickly find shelter.

The stress of a constant threat to their lives places an enormous burden on the shoulders of community leaders who have responsibility for the safety of residents.

Israel has responded to these recent attacks with regular strikes against the militants preparing rocket launches, and against the leaders of the militant groups, but it has not launched a major offensive including ground forces into Gaza.

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About the Author

Julie Bishop is the Federal Member for Curtin, Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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