Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Passports: Finally, Some Action

Nineteen days ago, Australia's genetically-modified Prime Minister Kevin ('Support for Israel is in my DNA') Rudd, miffed by Mossad's use of Australian passports in their dirty deed in Dubai, vowed not to "be silent" and to "get to the bottom" of the matter. He also talked about Israel "treating Australia with contempt" and promised "action" in response. (Aussies caught in Israeli spy hit, The Australian, 26/2/10)

Twelve days ago, despite the usual Israeli finger*, Rudd said, "[t]here is a way to go yet with our friends in Israel to resolving these matters to the satisfaction of the Australian Government... We continue to be in contact with them. We'll continue to work with our friends in Israel through multiple agencies and at the political level as well... I'm a lifelong supporter, defender and friend of the state of Israel. However, when it comes to this particular matter, I have a responsibility as Australian Prime Minister to get to the bottom of it and to establish that Australia's interests are being properly safeguarded in the future and I will do that." (Rudd unhappy with Israeli silence on passports, Phillip Coorey/Peter Hartcher, Sydney Morning Herald, 6/3/10)

[*"... a restrained Kevin Rudd said no more information had been forthcoming since Australia first protested last week."]

Nine days ago, Treasurer Wayne Swan, at a United Israel Appeal (UIA) Victoria gala(h) dinner, said, "Our countries and our people share so much, our love of democracy, our preference for peace, our opposition to extremism, and our responsibility to each other as citizens of the world... When it's all said and done, friends always end up on the same side when it really counts - and nothing counts more than the big contest between democracy on the one hand and intolerance on the other, especially between tolerance and anti-Semitism... That's why Australia and Israel will always be great friends - even if questions do arise between us from time to time as they have in recent weeks. What matters is that two great friends can get through such times, with lessons learnt." (Swan: Australia-Israel friendship will survive the passport affair, The Australian Jewish News, 12/3/10)

Well, seems the Israeli finger is still there on prominent display and we're still waiting to get to the bottom of the matter. However, all is not lost. I'm pleased to say the Rudd government has at last come up with some of the action he promised 19 days ago: "Australia has signed a multimillion-dollar deal with an Israeli defence company to develop a next-generation command and communications system for the Australian Defence Force. Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science Greg Combet said Haifa-based Elbit Systems Limited won the $349 million contract after a worldwide open tender. Elbit will develop a command, control and communications capability for elements of the army, Special Operations Command and the Air Force's combat support group." (Israel defence deal, The Age, 16/3/10)

Never let it be said that Rudd doesn't follow through on his promises.

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