AUSTRALIANS ENSURED OUR POLITICIANS CONDEMNED ISRAEL’S LAND GRAB
On August the 31st, Israel announced the confiscation of a thousand acres of Palestinian land for the expansion of its West Bank settlements. The international response was swift and strong: the UN Secretary General was alarmed, the UK Prime Minister said it was deplorable, and many countries condemned the move. Yet there was no response from either the Australian Government and a very week response from the Opposition. Only the Australian Greens had called on Israel to reverse the decision. On the 5th September, APAN launched a campaign for Australians to write to their parliamentarians, asking them to condemn the land grab and call for the decision to be reversed. On the 11th September, the Foreign Minister issued a statement criticising the decision, and calling on a reconsideration. Liberal MP David Coleman also expressed deep concern about the land expropriation, stating that it would undermine the peace process. On the 12th September, the Shadow Foreign Minister also released a statement, calling on a Israel to reverse the decision and saying settlements are “not in line with international law”.
APAN Dinner: Honouring the UN International Year of Solidarity
APAN was pleased to host a dinner to honour the UN Year of Solidarity for the Palestinian people and to celebrate and give support to the work of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. The dinner was addressed by APAN President, Bishop George Browning and HE Izzat Abdulhadi, Ambassador of the State of Palestine.
Shadow Minister for Finance, Mr Tony Burke MP used his speech to encourage Australia to ‘walk the talk’ in support of Palestine. “… if you are serious about a two state solution, the settlement activity must cease. If you are serious about justice, then we need to acknowledge and acknowledge the truth, that all Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are illegal. If we’re serious about speaking the truth then we must unequivocally be able to say that East Jerusalem in occupied”. Download full speech. Both Senator Rhiannon and Craig Laundy MP (in a message read in his absence) congratulated APAN for their strong and effective work in the Australian parliament. Read more.
The 50 day military assault on Gaza in July and August had horrendous humanitarian effects. The explosives fired over Gaza have been the equivalent of six nuclear bombs. Over 2,000 Gazans were killed,10,000 wounded and 600,000 were displaced by the 50 day assault. Damage was sustained to 40,000 homes, more than two-thirds of schools, 17 hospitals and clinics, and 197 Mosques. Australian parliamentarians responded in various ways – to see more, please see “Gaza Statements” and the “Canberra Declaration on Gaza”.
Gaza will need some significant financial support to recover – Please contribute to the financial rebuilding of Gaza if you can.
Fact Pages (Regularly Updated)
- Names of Palestinians killed since 8 July 2014 [IMEMC]
- Palestinian death toll: Gaza Ministry of Health reports 2137 dead; UNOCHA reports 2131 dead (1473 civilians of which 501 children, 257 women).
- UNOCHA-OPT Gaza Emergency Situation Report (04/09/2014, 800hrs) [pdf]
- UNOCHA-OPT Gaza Emergency Situation Report (28/08/2014, 0800hrs) [pdf]
- UNOCHA-OPT Gaza Strip: Damaged Structures (12/08/2014) [pdf]
- UNOCHA-OPT Gaza Emergency Humanitarian Snapshot, 29/08/2014 [pdf]
Join an APAN study tour #apanpalestinetour
Tours available in November and January. Read more
Of course East Jerusalem is Occupied!
On June 5, the Australian Government announced that it would no longer use the recognised title of “Occupied East Jerusalem”. The statement was so shocking that it made international news. APAN recommends Internal Law Professor Ben Saul’s clear opinion piece as a background on this issue. APAN was interviewed on this matter by ABC’s Lateline and SBS news. APAN launched a letter writing campaign on this issue and was lobbied heavily by a range of bodies. Following this pressure, the Federal Government indicated that supported UN resolutions that indicated that East Jerusalem was indeed occupied, even though it wouldn’t use the language itself (see news report).
APAN protests diplomatic meeting in East Jerusalem.
The Australian Ambassador to Israel met with the Israeli Housing Minister in his office in East Jerusalem, on 14 May 2014. This was promoted by the Housing Minister’s office and lauded by the Israeli conservative press as a change in Australian policy. (Read Haaretz article. Read Fairfax article). Until now, Australia has strictly avoided any acts that could be seen as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem – as Israel illegally annexed this land in 1967. Ambassadors and visiting Ministers have avoided any meetings in East Jerusalem. APAN wrote to the Foreign Minister asking her to clarify this meeting.
APAN commentary on peace process
An APAN Op Ed piece published in The Australian in April critiques how the “peace process” has become a euphemism for normalising the violent dispossession of the Palestinian people. Read article.
Confusion on ALP position on settlements – now clarified
The Leader of the opposition made a speech at a Zionist Community of Australia event which appeared to contradict the recent ALP approach to Israeli settlements. APAN demanded clarification. Ms Plibersek, Shadow Foreign Minister has now clarified this position – indicating that “Labor’s position remains the same”. She also added “Clear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice to Labor in government was that the settlements are not in line with international law.” Read clarification (in SMH). Read DFAT advice being referred to (link will download document). See story about APAN’s response in The Guardian.
APAN was honoured to be part of an event at Parliament House in March for the launching of the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The room was full of people wanting to honour this year – including 24 parliamentarians across the political spectrum, members of the diplomatic corps, representatives of the UN, business and community leaders, academics and community representatives. The event was co-hosted by Parliamentary Friends of Palestine and the Parliamentary UN Friendship group. In a passionate speech, Bishop George Browning asked the politicians to “catch up” with the Australian people who have had enough of not only Israeli policy victimising the Palestinians and the in-difference shown by the international community who won’t stand up against the injustices and inflected suffering. Read more and see photos of the event
Why don’t you hold an event in your State to honour the UN International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People? APAN would be happy to help
APAN responds to documentary “STONE COLD JUSTICE”
Four Corners and The Australian collaborated on producing this documentary, aired on ABC on 10th February 2014. The documentary revealed horrendous treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli military. APAN released a statement congratulating the producers. APAN also wrote to Cabinet members calling on them to publicly express their opposition. The documentary can be watched online.
APAN responds to Foreign Minister’s disturbing comments on settlements.
Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop was interviewed by the Times of Israel, who published an article based on her comments on the 15th January. In the interview she departed radically from previous Australian policy by refusing to concede that the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories were illegal under international law.