The Australian Government Appears Determined to Cover Israel’s Crimes

The killings of 106 Palestinians and injuring 10,000 should be investigated

As the world continues to be horrified by unarmed Palestinians being killed and maimed by Israeli snipers in Gaza, it is unconscionable for Australia to have voted against sending independent investigators from the UN.

It is absurd for the Australian Government to continue to talk about ‘balance’ as if these are two equal warring parties.  As the UN High Commissioner said, Gazans are “caged in a toxic slum from birth to death; deprived of dignity”, and Israel is a military power maintaining complete control over their lives.

Australia’s response to the military assaults on protests not only blames the victims, but risks creating a culture of impunity for the actions of the Israeli military.

Following Israel killing over 50 Palestinians last Monday, the UN Human Rights Council special session condemned the wholly disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force by Israel and resolved to investigate all alleged violations and abuse of international law.

Australia and the USA stood alone in opposing the resolution.

While the resolution did call on all parties to reduce the possibility of civilian deaths, it rightly focused on the responsibility of Israel as the occupying power for their disproportionate and indiscriminate response to protests.

In the last six weeks of protests, over a hundred Palestinians, including children and journalists have been shot and killed by Israel, including several shot in the back of the head.  Israel has also maimed thousands with ‘expanding bullets’, and some have suffocated to death from tear gas dropped on their tents, including 8 months old baby girl Layla Al Ghandour.  Israel has had no reported injuries.

Australia not only stands isolated in the Human Rights Council, it stands isolated in refusing to condemn the Israeli military’s use of force.  Human rights groups called last Monday a “Massacre” and a “blood bath” and other countries withdrew their Ambassadors, or made strong statements of condemnation.

For over 11 years, Gaza has been described as the world’s largest open air prison, as Israel and Egypt’s blockade has led to the population living in dire circumstances.  A recent UN report indicates that Gaza will be unliveable by 2020 – with already 90% of the water undrinkable; 80% of the population relying on food aid; and unemployment at over 43%.

In response to the lack of action to relieve their dire situation, the people of Gaza have begun protesting – tens of thousands of everyday people non-violently and creatively protesting along the border of the no-man’s land that surrounds them. They are reminding the world that most Gazans are refugees from the establishment of Israel 70 years ago, and international law supports their rights to live in dignity, including their right to return to their homes.

APAN strongly condemns the Government’s stand on this issue as it amounts to covering up Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians.