Australia Palestine Advocacy NetworkMonday, 1 January 2024 - 9:00am to Tuesday, 31 December 2024 - 5:00pm Across the country
ACT, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland, lutruwita (Tasmania) and Victoria
The news coming from Gaza grows more horrifying by the day. Thousands of innocent men, women and children have been killed. Neighbourhoods have been flattened by bombings. The health care system has been bombed into collapse. Hospitals are overflowing with people with appalling injuries, and exhausted medical staff are operating without electricity, fuel for their generators and the most basic of medical supplies. There is no safe place in Gaza and no one has been allowed to leave. On 1 November around 300 foreign nationals were allowed to leave and around 80 severely injured Palestinians were allowed to be transferred to Egypt.
A ceasefire is the only solution to this catastrophic violence. The Australian Government abstained from an United Nations General Assembly vote calling for an immediate and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities and the unhindered provision of essential aid to civilians throughout the Gaza Strip. By a recorded vote of 120 in favour to 14 against, with 45 abstentions, the Assembly adopted the resolution. Israel has ignored the resolution. On 12 December, Australia finally voted for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages and well as “ensuring humanitarian access” along with with 153 other members of the UN General Assembly with 10 votes against, and 23 abstentions.
Meanwhile, we’re seeing increasing reports of Israeli war crimes and violations of international humanitarian laws. Human Rights Watch has confirmed that banned white phosphorus has been used on people in Gaza and Lebanon. The UN Humanitarian Relief Chief said Israel’s order for one million people to evacuate northern Gaza in just 24 hours “defied the rules of war and basic humanity.” Statements by UN bodies, including the Secretary General, have been unequivocal – Israel’s targeting of civilians and civilian infrastructure is in clear violation of international law. The complete cutting off of Gaza is collective punishment and a war crime.
The Australian Government must clearly condemn these gross violations of international law. The killing of innocent Gazans is not “Israeli self-defense.” It is an attack on a population that is held captive in what has been described as an open-air prison, that has come to resemble - to use the words of the UN - “a living hell.”
The attacks must stop. The siege must be lifted. The violence that has plagued the people of Gaza and Palestine for the past 75 years must cease. All efforts internationally must address the underlying causes of these atrocities and urgently end Israeli apartheid and settler-colonialism. Peace and freedom must reign for Palestine.
Almost 22,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces. More than 57,000 people have been wounded, many with injuries that will change the course of their lives. Meanwhile, 2023 was the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began keeping casualty records in 2005, with 483 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces and settlers since October 7 alone.
In January, the South African Government filed a complaint against Israel in the International Court of Justice, claiming that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and is not acting to punish those inciting to genocide. In fact, the Israeli Government and military forces’ language has demonstrated genocidal intent in Gaza. That intent has been reinforced by siege conditions that are intentionally starving and causing medical harm to an entire population, and by the blanket bombing of more than two million civilians. This is a form of collective punishment, a war crime under international law.
Almost the entire 2.3 million person population of Gaza has been displaced, and pushed into a sliver of land that itself offers no safety or shelter from Israeli violence. As the World Health Organisation chief said in late November, nowhere and no-one is safe in Gaza.
And yet, UN Security Council ceasefire resolutions continue to be vetoed by the US, giving impunity to Israel to continue its collective punishment and killing of Palestinians. It is clear that the international community, including Australia, must now use its influence to see the US support an immediate ceasefire for Gaza.
Please take action to increase the pressure condemning Israel’s attacks on the people of Gaza, and calling for an immediate ceasefire and the lifting of the siege of Gaza to protect the most basic of human rights – the right to live. We can’t be complicit in Israel’s genocide of the people of Gaza.
How to Take Action
Millions of people around the world are taking part in rallies in support of Palestine.
Many Palestinian and Jewish groups across the country are holding rallies, sit-ins. fundraisers and vigils. Check out the APAN events page to see what's happening near you, attend the weekly rallies calling for a cease fire and email to your MP asking for a ceasefire. Follow Palestinian journalists, medics and others on social media. Ask for more information on who to follow from your local group.
The weekly rally in Naarm / Melbourne takes place 12pm every Sunday at the State Library.