The Israel Palestinian conflict tends to follow a familiar course. First, Palestinians launch rockets, suicide attacks, or other incursions against Israel during which the Israelis are urged to show restraint while the talking heads tut-tut about it, generally propounding on what Israel must do to seek a lasting peace in the region.
The second phase is where Israel gets sick of it and responds. This is met by accusations of unacceptable escalation, calls for restraint, some of them directed at both sides, but in the main, directed at Israel.
This time around, the same thing seems to be applying, although this time Australia has Bob Carr as Foreign Minister. Bob, who tends not to register anything coming through his right eye, feels that it is the Israeli threat of a ground war that is responsible for the Palestinian rocket barrage:
Australia's Foreign Minister Bob Carr has urged Israel and the Palestinians to exercise restraint, saying the rocket attack on Jerusalem signifies a dramatic escalation of the worsening Middle East conflict.
Senator Carr says both sides should draw back from the brink of war. "I understand Israel was already considering ground action,'' Senator Carr told Sky News today.
"That was before these rocket attacks, so it's extremely serious and a dramatic escalation that has us again, as Australians, calling for both sides to exercise a high degree of restraint.''
Israeli Ambassador to Australia Yuval Rotem acknowledged the calls for restraint. "The question is if we exercise restraint and the rockets continue to come all the way from Gaza, how are we going to stop it?'' he told Sky News. "The rockets need to be stopped.”
Bob isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed and there has been a great deal of speculation on why the government picked him out from the relative obscurity of his role as a failed New South Wales Premier from some time back, to elevate him into the Senate and give him the plum Foreign Affairs portfolio. Bob is a guy who justifies the expression, promoted beyond his level of incompetence.
The rocket attacks he refers to, are the long range ones which have been the most recent ones, after a long string of short range rockets were fired into Israeli territory.
For Australia to be a credible participant on the world stage in the area of peaceful relations between nations, we have to be honest in our approach. What Bob is doing weakens our integrity in this area and cheapens our contribution on the international stage.