Thursday, 7 March 2013

Comment from a Spokesperson for the Hon. Kevin Rudd MP



 Mr Rudd has consistently said he supports the Foreign Minister's handling of this matter.

That our Ambassador to Israel was not made aware of this case until after Mr Zygier’s death is of concern. The report acknowledges that in hindsight DFAT should have done this.

That the then Foreign Minister Smith was not briefed on this as a consular matter is also of concern.

Mr Rudd has no recollection at all of being briefed on this case at any time by DFAT or others.

This includes prior to or during his visit to Israel from 12 to 14 December 2010, during which time he had meetings with The Israeli Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Mr Rudd is particularly concerned about this given that Mr Zygier died in an Israeli prison on 15 December 2010. Mr Rudd’s general practice as Foreign Minister was to raise consular cases of concern to DFAT in meetings with relevant ministers of foreign governments.

Mr Rudd remains concerned as to why Mr Zygier was arrested and incarcerated in Israel and awaits the outcome of other relevant inquiries.

Mr Rudd awaits formal confirmation as to whether or not there was any connection with Mr Zygier’s case and the illegal abuse of Australian passports by the Israeli Authorities in connection with the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in 2010 which resulted in the expulsion of an Israeli diplomat from Canberra.

Mr Rudd's office was briefed on the outcomes of the DFAT review earlier today.

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