APAN highlights 2013-2014

Highlights from APAN activities in 2013-2014.

Dec. 2014 | Australian Government votes against ending the Occupation of Palestine
In its last action as a member of the UN Security Council, Australia voted against a UN Security Council resolution to end the occupation of Palestine. The results of the 15-member UN Security Council vote were:

  • Against (2): USA, Australia
  • For (8): Russia, China, France, Argentina, Chile, Luxemburg, Chad, Jordan
  • Abstain (5): UK, Rwanda, Nigeria, Lithuania, South Korea

In defending its position the Australian government stated that the resolution “.. lacks balance and seeks to impose a solution put forward by one party alone.”

Obviously, the Australian Government is happy with Israel’s imposed solution via the blockade of the Gaza Strip and the colonisation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The latest Morgan opinion poll initiated by APAN has clearly shown that 57% of Australians want the government to vote FOR the recognition of Palestinian State. One wonders whose interest and agenda the Australian Government represents.

Countries which voted FOR the recognition of Palestine.

This map shows the majority of the world already recognises Palestine (all countries in green do). But even though the majority of Australians support immediate recognition of Palestine – the Australian Government doesn’t!

In December, with the support of APAN, hundreds of Australians wrote to their local representatives asking them to support a YES vote in the UN Security Council.

Australian parliamentarians have begun calling for immediate recognition of Palestine! Lets get behind them and call on the rest of parliament to join them!

Read more in our Opinion Piece published in The Australian.

Nov. 2014 | Morgan Poll shows Australians support recognition of Palestine
A Morgan opinion poll undertaken in early November 2014 showed that the majority of Australians support immediate recognition of Palestine. In comparison to Opinion Polls of previous years, people reported having increased knowledge about the situation, and an increasing sympathy for Palestinians.  Nearly a third of people polled indicated they believe that the Government favors Israel rather than holding a balanced position.  Read more.

Sep. 2014 | Ensuring politicians condemned Israel’s land grab
On 31 August 2014, 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, yet there was no response from the Australian Government and a very weak response from the Opposition. Only the Australian Greens had called on Israel to reverse the decision.  APAN launched a campaign where Australians wrote to their local members, and within a week there was a condemnation issued by both the Government and Opposition. Read more.

Aug. 2014 | APAN dinner for the International YeaA_Burker of Solidarity
APAN was pleased to host a dinner to honour the UN Year of Solidarity for the Palestinian People and support the work of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network. The dinner was addressed by APAN President, Bishop George Browning, and His Excellency, 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 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 by Tony Burke MP [pdf].

Both Senator Lee Rhiannon and Craig Laundy MP (in a message read in his absence [pdf]) congratulated APAN for their strong and effective work in the Australian parliament.  Read more.

Jul. 2014 | ‘Operation Protective Edge’ Israeli aggression against Gaza Strip
canberra_declaration_on_gazaAPAN monitored statements from Australian Parliamentarians on ‘Operation Protective Edge’, the latest Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip, which began on 7 July 2014.  After 50 days of a costly conflict, an open-ended ceasefire went into effect at 1600hrs, 26 August 2014.
> Read collection of Parliamentarian statements on Gaza.

Jun. 2014 | Of course East Jerusalem is Occupied
On 5 June 2014, the Australian Government announced that it would no longer use the internationally-recognised title of “Occupied East Jerusalem”.  The statement was so shocking that it made international news. APAN recommends International 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 it supported UN resolutions that indicated that East Jerusalem was indeed occupied, though it wouldn’t use the language itself.

May 2014 | 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. 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.
> Read Haaretz article and Fairfax article on the issue.

Apr. 2014 | APAN helps the ALP stay strong on settlements
The Leader of the Opposition, Mr Bill Shorten MP, made a speech at a Zionist Federation of Australia event on 30 March 2014 which appeared to contradict ALP policy on Israeli settlements. APAN immediately demanded clarification [pdf].  Ms Tanya Plibersek MP, Shadow Foreign Minister, clarified the ALP position indicating that “Labor’s position remains the same” and “clear Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advice to Labor in government was that the settlements are not in line with international law.”
> Read ALP clarification (SMH, 03/04/2014). 
> See also story about APAN’s response (The Guardian, 01/04/2014).

Mar. 2014 | Parliamentary event for UN year  International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People
APAN was honoured to be part of an event at Parliament House 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 from 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. APAN President, Bishop George Browning, asked politicians to “catch up” with the Australian people who have had enough of Palestinians not only being the victims of Israeli policy, but from the international community who won’t stand up against the injustices they are suffering.
> Read more and see photos of the event

Mar. 2014, Dec. 2013 | APAN meets with new Parliament

– Jessica Morrison, Prof Bassam Dally, Mr Mark Coulton MP, Bishop George Browning, Prof Peter Slezak. [Photo: APAN]

APAN has now met with a third of the current new federal parliament, after a concerted effort in December 2013 and March 2014.  We have been encouraged by increasing understanding of Palestinian concerns across members of all parties, and hope for a more balanced approach.  Read more.

Feb. 2014 | APAN supports documentary Stone Cold Justice
Four Corners and The Australian collaborated on producing this documentary, aired on ABC on 10 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 [pdf] calling on them to publicly express their opposition to the Israeli practices revealed by the ABC documentary.

Jan. 2014 | APAN responds to Foreign Minister’s disturbing comments on Israeli settlements
Australia’s Foreign Minister comments quoted in the Times of Israel article (15/01/2014) caused outrage by refusing to concede that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories were illegal under international law. APAN’s President, Bishop George Browning, had an opinion piece published in both The Age and Canberra Times in response. APAN has also written to the Foreign Minister expressing our deep concerns about her actions. The Australian Jewish Democratic Society (AJDS) have also published their letter of concern to Julie Bishop.

Nov. 2013 | APAN message for  UN International Day for Solidarity with Palestinian People
Each year 29 November is the official United Nations day recognising the need for solidarity for Palestinian people.  Bishop George Browning has released a statement including the words:

We believe the need for this solidarity in Australia has become more urgent because of the apparent change in policy of the incoming Australian Government that now refuses to sanction Israel for its aggressive settlement programme, despite the fact that the settlements are considered ‘illegal’ by the United Nations and ‘illegitimate’ by the United States of America.

> Read full APAN statement. 
> Read the statement by the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki-Moon

Aug. 2013 | Federal election campaign: I support Palestine and I vote
APAN distributed thousands of postcards and encouraged thousands to send e-mails and postcards to candidates for the Federal election asking for their positions on Palestine.
> Check out Party positions on Palestine.
> See individual candidate responses.

May 2013 | APAN joins advocacy groups to tour Dr Mona El Farra
Dr Mona El Farra, Health Chair of the Red Crescent Society in Gaza, was invited to give the 2013 Nakba Commemoration Lecture by the Sydney community group, the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine.  APAN was very pleased to coordinate Dr El Farra’s time to visit Parliament House and join with other groups to sponsor public meetings in Melbourne and Canberra.  Dr El Farra’s visit to Australia highlighted the severity of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the need for urgent political response.
> Read UN report on Gaza [pdf].
> See photos of Dr Mona’s visit.