On Friday, Julia Gillard, the social democratic Prime Minister of Australia, said that her government ''condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately''.
On Sunday, Barack Obama, the social democratic President of the United States, said much the same thing. He described the ''precipitating event'' in the present crisis between Israel and Hamas as the ''ever-escalating number of missiles that were landing not just in Israel territory but in areas that are populated''. Obama added that ''there's no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders''.
The positions adopted by Gillard and Obama have bipartisan support in their respective countries from the political conservatives. For example, last Thursday the Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, commented that ''Israel has every right to defend itself''.
Around this time last year, I visited Sderot in south-west Israel, not far from the Israel/Gaza border. Sderot is within the Green Line. That is, it is part of the state of Israel that was created by the United Nations in 1948. (continue reading...)