Damian Lataan (SA) writes to the Prime Minister re Australia’s welcome for Israeli war criminal Ehud Olmert 27Nov09 November 30, 2009

Can you please explain why the highest governmental minister of Australia secretly entertained a man who is awaiting trial in his homeland for corruption and has, furthermore, been accused of having been responsible for war crimes which were committed during the 2008/2009 Gaza War in which several hundreds of innocent Palestinian civilians were killed in an onslaught that is said to have deliberately targeted civilians?

I appreciate that these accusations are just that – accusations; and that the man is entitled to be heard before being convicted if found guilty, but would you have similarly entertained, say, Robert Mugabe had he arrived here for a visit? After all, he too should be entitled to a hearing before being convicted if found guilty of the crimes he is alleged to have committed. Indeed, would you have even permitted Mugabe to visit Australia, let alone entertained him, despite the fact that he, unlike Olmert, is actually a current Head of State but, like Olmert, an unconvicted criminal?

Can you further explain why Olmert’s visit was kept secret from the Australian people and why you personally felt the need to meet him? Why was he denied the opportunity of hearing what Australians truly think of him?

I imagine that you will say that you were advised to keep his visit a secret for security reasons, but does not that, in itself, tell you how much Australians object to this man’s presence in our country?

I’m sure you would agree that the Australian people deserve some kind of explanation that goes beyond some formal statement that relates to security. Palestinians living in Australia particularly, I’m sure, would be pleased to hear an explanation from you as to why you should entertain a man who many in this world regard as both a common criminal and a war criminal.

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