Media Release 28 May 2013

Visiting Doctor from Gaza asks parliamentarians for urgent action

 Dr Mona El Farra, Health Chair of the Red Crescent Society of the Gaza Strip, is in Parliament House today warning that the blockade of Gaza is leading to both a humanitarian disaster and political unrest.

“In Gaza children have no safe homes, no safe streets, no proper and adequate health facilities, no proper food, clean water, or regular electrical power and no good education. The Israeli aggression and blockade is instilling fear, anger and loss – this will not bring peace and security to Israelis”.

Following the November ceasefire agreement, there have been numerous Israeli attacks on Palestinians in border areas of Gaza, killing 2 people and injuring 29 others. Additionally there have been increasing restrictions on goods coming into Gaza and access to fishing areas.

“As a friend of Israel’s, Australia must call on Israel to honor the ceasefire agreement” said Bishop Browning, the President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, who are hosting Dr El Farra in Parliament today.  “Collective punishment of the people of Gaza will not help reach a peace solution”. “We echo US Secretary of State John Kerry’s comments that the current situation is on a knife-edge and Australia must use all its diplomatic channels to advocate for a just peace resolution”.

The UN reports that only 10% of water in Gaza is safe to drink and that pressure on all public infrastructure – schools, hospitals, sewage is all at breaking point.

Parliamentary Briefing on Gaza                                                5.30pm, Tuesday 28 May, IR 5, Parliament House

Interviews available by prior arrangement

For more information or comment:                        Jessica Morrison              0431 519 577

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) is a national coalition of civil society organisations who advocate for peace and justice in Palestine/Israel based on UN resolutions and international and humanitarian law.  Its members include churches, unions, Jewish groups, Palestinian groups, retired diplomats and  many others.