The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has now lasted over 15 years. We should celebrate the people delivering assistance. We must not forget the plight of the Palestinian people.
Ms PAYNE (Canberra) (13:50): Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. To this day Palestinians make up 21 per cent of the global refugee population. The UN Secretary-General said:
We commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at a time of diminished hope for peace. I am deeply saddened by the growing number of Palestinian civilians who have lost their lives in the spiral of violence engulfing the occupied West Bank. Each casualty fuels fear and yet more violence. I urge all parties to take immediate steps to reduce tensions and break this deadly cycle.
We must continue to work for a two-state solution where both Palestinians and Israelis can live in peace and security.
Mohammad El Halabi was the Gaza manager for World Vision. He played a crucial role in delivering vital aid to the people of Gaza. In 2014 he was named a humanitarian hero by the UN, but two years later he was charged with directing more than $50 million in aid money to Hamas. He has spent six years in prison and he now faces another six years in prison after a largely secret trial. Independent investigations by World Vision, Deloitte and even the Australian government found no evidence of wrongdoing. In fact, World Vision has said that its entire Gaza budget during that time frame was less than the amount supposedly taken.
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has now lasted over 15 years. We should celebrate the people delivering assistance. We must not forget the plight of the Palestinian people. (Time expired)