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Former prime minister Scott Morrison has landed in Israel in the first visit to the Jewish state by an Australian politician since Hamas crossed the border from Gaza and slaughtered more than 1400 Israeli citizens on October 7.
Morrison was a strong supporter of Israel in office, including recognising West Jerusalem in 2018 as the country’s capital, a position since reversed by the Albanese government.
Former Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and former UK prime minister Boris Johnson meet the chairman of World Likud, Danny Denon, after arriving in Israel on Sunday.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, more than three weeks after the war began. He has not visited the Jewish state.
Morrison has been joined on the trip by former British prime minister Boris Johnson.
Morrison said he was “thankful for the opportunity to join former prime minister Johnson to come to Israel as a demonstration of solidarity with the people and State of Israel and the Jewish community throughout the world.
“It is an opportunity to understand firsthand what is occurring on the ground, honour those who have been lost, show support to those who have suffered and are now engaged in this terrible conflict and discuss how to move forward.”
The former prime ministers will reportedly meet Israeli President Isaac Herzog and family members of hostages abducted by Hamas. There are also plans to visit Israeli villages in the south, where civilians were slaughtered when Gazan fighters broke into their homes.
Last week, Morrison was one of six former prime ministers to issue a joint letter declaring there was “no more tenaciously evil race hatred than antisemitism” and warning that terrorist organisation Hamas wanted to fuel ancient hatreds throughout the world.
As Morrison began his visit to Israel, Greens leader Adam Bandt faced calls to apologise after the minor-party leader shared on social media a “Stand with Gaza” flyer that included a map of Palestine in which the borders of Israel do not appear.
The post, shared on Instagram on Thursday, was deleted by the weekend.
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein said the Greens had sunk to a new low and their leader had “implicitly endorsed calls for the destruction of Israel. This puts the Greens completely outside mainstream political discourse and debate,” Ruebenstein wrote.
Greens leader Adam Bandt. Credit: Alex Ellinghausen
“The inclusion of a map of ‘Palestine’ including the entirety of Israel makes very clear what the march organisers mean when they call for a ‘Free Palestine’.
“It is absolutely appalling that a member of parliament in this country could behave in this way, let alone the leader of a prominent political party. Mr Bandt should immediately dissociate himself from this event and organisation. Furthermore, he should make a full and unequivocal apology not only to the Jewish community, but to all Australians.”
A spokesperson for Bandt did not directly address the call for him to apologise.
“The Greens are pushing for a ceasefire and a just peace in the whole region of Israel and Palestine, referred to in the image, based on an end to the occupation and on the self-determination of their futures by the peoples of Palestine and Israel so that they can both live in peace and security in line with international law. After feedback suggesting the post could be misinterpreted, the post was taken down,” the spokesperson said.
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