Australian government dismisses safety concerns over 860 visas issued to Palestinians

Foreign Minister Penny Wong claims 'all necessary security checks' have been conducted.

Australian government dismisses safety concerns over 860 visas issued to Palestinians
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In response to an reports confirming 860 visas have been issued since the onset of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister James Paterson raised apprehensions about the speed of the visa approvals. Wong, appearing on Sky News Australia, dismissed the concerns, stating:

"I would emphasize very clearly that the usual security checks, identity checks, and character checks were undertaken on this cohort."

Wong claimed that advice from security agencies confirmed the completion of all appropriate security measures. Responding to questions about potential ties to Hamas, Wong asserted:

"Just as not everybody from Afghanistan is linked with the Taliban, not everyone who is Palestinian is linked with a terrorist organization."

Wong further claimed that having a visa did not necessarily allow individuals to leave their current location, particularly in the perilous situation in Gaza.

The Foreign Minister also provided evacuation updates, noting that 127 Australians had been successfully evacuated from Gaza as of November 23, with ongoing efforts for 69 others.

Additionally, Wong drew a comparison, stating:

"We have, in the same period, granted some nearly 1,800 visas to people who have applied who are in Israel, so that gives you some comparison. Some 860 out of Gaza and some 1,800 out of Israel."

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