Gillard condemns attacks on Israel

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has condemned the attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip, saying the rocket attacks will not help the Palestinian campaign for self-determination.

In a statement, Ms Gillard said Australia was gravely concerned by the escalating conflict.

''The government condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from the Gaza Strip and calls on Hamas to cease these immediately,'' Ms Gillard said.

''Australia supports Israel's right to defend itself against these indiscriminate attacks. Such attacks on Israel's civilian population are utterly unacceptable.''

She urged both Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint, and said any escalation in the attacks by Hamas ''will not serve the interests of the Palestinian people or their cause for self-determination and statehood''.

''The government of Australia will work earnestly with other countries to end further attacks from Gaza and to encourage a de-escalation of this conflict,'' she said.

''We encourage regional countries, particularly Egypt, to support efforts to restore peace.

''The only way forward is a two-state solution based on direct negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis.''

This story Gillard condemns attacks on Israel first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.