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Dutton slammed for ‘small view’ on Gaza

FLIGHT ISSUES
Australians have been warned to reconsider their need to travel to Israel amid unfolding conflict. Picture: NewsWire / Monique Harmer

Anthony Albanese has accused Peter Dutton of trying to politicise Australia’s response to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

The Prime Minister vented his frustration on Tuesday afternoon after Mr Dutton publicly questioned whether he’d convened a high-level security meeting to discuss the crisis.

“There is no issue too big for Peter Dutton to not show, once again, how small his view is. He attempts to politicise every issue,” he told Sky News.

Mr Albanese said he was receiving “appropriate briefings” and claimed there was “no political angle here”.

“What I'll look towards is the national interest, which is always my focus.”

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The stoush kicked off after 1000 people marched from Town Hall to the Sydney Opera House on Monday evening as part of a pro-Palestine rally.

PRIME MINISTER
Mr Albanese hit back at Mr Dutton’s comments about his response to the conflict. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

Another pro-Palestine protest is expected in Melbourne on Tuesday evening.

The sails of the building had been illuminated in blue and white in tribute to the Israelis who lost their lives in the surprise Hamas attack on Israel at the weekend.

Israel retaliated, killing hundreds in Gaza, and announced a total blockade to cut off food, electricity and fuel supplies from the region.

Mr Dutton used a press conference in Adelaide to accuse the Prime Minister of not doing enough to de-escalate tensions.

PRO-PALESTINE RALLY
Pro-Palestine protesters lobbed flares at the Sydney Opera House on Monday night. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Jeremy Piper

“The threat to people of Jewish faith in our country is very real,” he told reporters.

“I find it quite remarkable that the Prime Minister hasn't held a formal meeting of the National Security Committee to discuss these very important matters, to discuss the domestic threat level, to look at ways in which they can de-escalate some of the scenes that we saw or prevent those gatherings from taking place in the first instance.”

Israel has returned fire on Gaza after Hamas’ surprise attack on the weekend. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP
Israel has returned fire on Gaza after Hamas’ surprise attack on the weekend. Picture: MAHMUD HAMS / AFP

NSW Premier Chris Minns also denounced the protest, which according to videos shared from the event showed the crowd chanting anti-Semitic slogans.

Mr Albanese said the actions were “just appalling” and had no place in Australia.

“I understand that people have deep views about issues relating to the Middle East conflict, but here in Australia, we have to deal with political discourse in a respectful way.

“And I certainly didn't see that from the footage that I saw last night, which is one of the reasons why I believe it was just inappropriate for it to go ahead last night.”

More than 900 Israelis are dead, with thousands more injured, after the Hamas assault on Saturday.

Hamas gunmen are holding 150 hostages they seized during the raids, the Israeli government has said.

Meanwhile, more than 600 Palestinians and thousands more have been wounded in retaliatory attacks.

Officials are still working to get in contact with many of the thousands of Australians who call Israel home, and tourists caught up in the conflict.

The Prime Minister said the government was working through with authorities to confirm whether there were any Australians that remained unaccounted for.

“There‘s nothing I can add publicly at this time but we’re working with families, people who have relatives and others in the region.

“We‘re working through those issues.”

SYDNEY AIRPORT
Australians have been urged to “reconsider your need to travel” to Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories as conflict intensifies. Picture: NCA Newswire / Gaye Gerard

Overnight, Australia’s travel advice for Israel was upgraded to “reconsider your need to travel” to Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories.

A number of major international airlines, such as American Airlines and Emirates, have already cancelled flights to Tel Aviv in the wake of the conflict.

Foreign Affairs Minister Penny Wong said the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were monitoring the commercial availability of flights out of Israel.

“I understand the airport is still open and there are still commercial options available,” she told reporters in Adelaide.