Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has condemned the use of violence during a deadly raid by Israeli commandos, and called for the blockade of Gaza to be lifted.
“We are deeply concerned about the loss of life which has occurred,” Kevin Rudd told reporters.
Rudd calls for inquiry
Rudd said it was “imperative” that Israel’s government conduct an “immediate, independent inquiry” into the incident, and its findings be urgently handed to the United Nations Security Council.
“If the Israeli authorities and the Israeli government do not do that, then consideration should be given to what other form of inquiry occurs,” the prime minister said.
Call for an end to blockade
Rudd also called for an end to the blockade of humanitarian supplies to the besieged Gaza Strip.
“We believe, leaving aside the whole question of a long-standing dispute and a long-standing war, the people of Gaza should be provided with humanitarian assistance,” Rudd said.
Australian shot in raid
An Australian man on board the ship underwent surgery after being shot in the leg, and two Australian journalists on the flotilla were safe and receiving consular help, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told parliament.
The journalists and two other Australian women were being detained in Beersheba detention centre and their safety had been confirmed, Smith said, describing it as a “terrible and shocking incident” which required credible and transparent investigation by Israel and international scrutiny.
Israel has been widely condemned for the attack in international waters, which prompted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cut short a visit to Canada and the United States where he was due to meet President Barack Obama.