When we look back at the atrocities of history, we often wonder what we would have done. Well, we will be judged by history. We will be asked what we did to stop this horrific war, where the casualties amongst 2.4 million Palestinians and especially their children are rising so rapidly with over 4,000 children dead. It is unbearable.
Senator BARBARA POCOCK (South Australia) (16:39): It’s time for a ceasefire in Gaza. Over 10,000 people have died in a human catastrophe, with the largest price paid for by the innocent: civilian men, women and children. One thousand four hundred innocent Israelis died on 7 October, and close to 10,000 Palestinians have died in the months since. We all count, or nobody counts. As we hold our children and families close, every Australian must share the grief of this catastrophic loss of life and injury. Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children. According to the UN, more journalists have been killed over the past four weeks than in any conflict over the past three decades. Eighty-one United Nations workers have been killed, more than in any comparable period in the history of the UN.
I have heard the stories of doctors and nurses in Gaza operating on the wounded without anaesthetic, heard the stories of bombed ambulances and bombed refugee camps, and I know that we must do all we can to stop this war. So many South Australians have contacted me, sharing their horror at what they are seeing in their homes every night, and they’ve asked me and the Greens to stand up for a ceasefire. To quote just one, Jessie Edwards wrote to me a few days ago speaking of her ‘deep distress’ about the lack of humanitarian support from our government to the people of Gaza. She said the bombing and the collective punishment of civilian Palestinians shocked her conscience. She wrote:
This is a moment in history in which we will all feel shame for not doing as much as we can to prevent avoidable suffering. I urge you to agitate forcefully for a ceasefire and peace.
The need for a ceasefire is internationally recognised. We’ve have seen 120 nations at the UN vote in favour of a ceasefire. Australia abstained—well, shame on us. I am ashamed that our government did not join these countries and their call, did not listen to have thousands of Australians who are horrified and calling for peace, for the release of all hostages and political prisoners and access for humanitarian aid into Gaza. When we look back at the atrocities of history, we often wonder what we would have done. Well, we will be judged by history. We will be asked what we did to stop this horrific war, where the casualties amongst 2.4 million Palestinians and especially their children are rising so rapidly with over 4,000 children dead. It is unbearable. Right now we see our communities, so many Australians, joining millions around the world marching for peace. I joined with them, and we join with them calling for a ceasefire immediately in Gaza and an end to the illegal war crimes being perpetrated on the innocent. We need a lasting and just peace for both Israelis and Palestinians.