How can it be that the world, including Australia, is standing by and condoning such horrors? How can it be that our government is effectively saying that international human rights law doesn’t apply to the Israeli government? The IDF have bombed hospitals on the pretence that the hospitals were hiding major Hamas terror operations. When that hasn’t been the case, they’ve just shrugged their shoulders at having committed the most atrocious war crimes.
Senator RICE (Victoria) (16:51): We need an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza now. Latest reports are that 15,523 Palestinians have been killed and 41,316 wounded since 7 October. It is estimated that seventy per cent of the people killed have been women, children and the elderly. With the Israeli government vowing to continue the attack with ‘increasing force’, the number of innocent people killed will, awfully, continue to rise. There are 1.5 million displaced Palestinians, most of whom are living in overcrowded shelters, with poor access to hygiene facilities and safe water. Evacuees are living in these conditions while facing the threat of air strikes, with the knowledge that, if they are wounded, adequate health care is virtually non-existent.
How can it be that the world, including Australia, is standing by and condoning such horrors? How can it be that our government is effectively saying that international human rights law doesn’t apply to the Israeli government? The IDF have bombed hospitals on the pretence that the hospitals were hiding major Hamas terror operations. When that hasn’t been the case, they’ve just shrugged their shoulders at having committed the most atrocious war crimes. Just yesterday, Israel continued its bombing of the Jabalia refugee camp. Local media reported, ‘A residential square containing at least 300 people, half of whom are children, was just completely flattened to the ground.’
It is so distressing. I believed that we were a country that believed in the international rules-based order, that we wanted to see a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine. But, clearly, we are not. We are clearly joined at the hip with US imperialism, the Israeli occupation, and Israel’s persecution and illegal killing of Palestinians. The only way to move towards a just and lasting peace is to end the war. If the Australian government believed in a just and lasting peace, they would be exerting every effort for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza now, and they’d be advocating for and supporting the delivery of unrestricted humanitarian relief.
I want to finish by sharing part of a statement from Bisan, a Palestinian journalist living in Gaza. She says:
I no longer have any hope of survival like I did at the beginning of this genocide, and I am certain I will die in the next few weeks or maybe even days.
I suffer nightmares that so closely resemble reality I can no longer differentiate between reality and dreams.
I am a community activist who lived in the fantasy that the world was free and just, and I sought to bring rights not only to my people but to all peoples across the world.
The world approves, supports, legislates and finances the genocide we are being subjected to. My message to the world: You are not innocent of what is happening to us, we will not forgive you and we will not forget, and, even if we die, history will not forget.
Bisan ends on a message of hope, thanking friends and supporters around the world, and she asks us to not lose hope and to keep fighting for a ceasefire, and that’s exactly what we will do. I say to the Labor government, by not calling for an immediate and ongoing ceasefire, you are complicit in this humanitarian catastrophe, these blatant breaches of international law. We will not forget that, and we will not forgive you. Israel’s relentless and inhumane attacks must end.