No one should be surprised at the news that the Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard is hot footing it to Israel with some of the local press with a long track record for supporting the Israeli view of the Middle East. Which is basically — to paraphrase the Orwell line — “Israel good, Palestinians bad”.

US President Obama’s speech in Egypt and his insistence on some basic compliance by Israel with UN declarations has clearly wrong-footed Australia and angered the strong Israel lobby within the ALP.

Members like Michael Danby and others have made it their business to ensure that Australia’s foreign policy mirrored the worst of the shallowness of the Bush era which simply writes off those who believe in meeting Palestinian aspirations to live in some semblance of a homeland with some semblance of dignity, as ranting supporters of terrorism.

Of course there is a serious issue of the use of terrorism, but that applies to the terrorism from people with nothing left to lose as well as State terrorism. And for those in the Government who still do not understand the issues, Paul McGeough’s latest book Kill Khalid provides insight into the complete failure of all the major participants to move forward towards creating a just and lasting peace.

Our Foreign Policy has been very pro Israel — just look at the appalling silence when Israel, one of the strongest nuclear powers in the world, decimated the civilian population of Gaza where 1.5 million people live in a small area, trapped from any reasonable contact with the outside world.

The few ALP Caucus members who dare to hold the view that peace in the Middle East requires reigning in the unlawful Israeli occupations and demands that Palestinians be treated with some dignity have been warned not to go public but to keep any discussions about the policy in-house.

In the meantime, our foreign minister must be feeling very uncomfortable with the Obama play — it’s such a pity, as Australia could have used its position as an honest broker. Instead it hung on to the extreme Jewish lobby coattails and the Bush madness for too long.

So what’s the journey to Israel about? Assuring Israel that while we love the US we don’t agree with Obama and if we do get a seat on the Security Council we will look after Israeli interests?