Dear Australian elected representatives,
I am taking the extraordinary step of writing to every member of parliament in Australia today, in response to the horrifying situation that continues to unfold, unchecked, in Gaza and the West Bank.
Today I’m asking you to publicly call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire.
For two months now, the Israeli government, under the cover of a distressingly sluggish and inadequate international community response, has carpet-bombed Gaza, killing more than 16,000 people, including more than 7,000 children, and wounding more than 43,000 – many of these people now injured in life-changing ways. More than 7,600 people remain trapped and suffocating under the rubble.
The Israeli government has collectively punished the civilian population of Gaza by restricting access to humanitarian supplies and medical aid, inflicting upon these people what has been described as intentional starvation.
These actions are war crimes. These actions are genocide.
They have seen the UN Secretary General invoke Article 99 of the United Nations Charter, warning that public order in Gaza is on the verge of collapse, and emphasising that the “international community has a responsibility to use all of its influence to prevent further escalation and end this crisis.”
This requires extraordinary measures by the Australian Government.
The Australian Government lauds itself as a “leading advocate” of the global Responsibility to Protect principle. It is a signatory to the UN Genocide Convention. These commitments are not merely marks on paper, self-congratulatory words to be trundled out when the stakes are at their lowest.
They mean something internationally, to the people of this continent, and most of all, to the people of Palestine who, today, rely on them for their very survival.
I call on you to set aside your party politics and to instead embrace your humanity. I join the Australian community and the majority of the world in urging you to call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and asking that you lead an effort to see a sustainable and just political solution for this crisis.
Sign this statement and affirm your support for an immediate ceasefire and a just and lasting peace.
The people of Gaza cannot wait another day for the Australian Government and international community to intervene.
President, Australia Palestine Advocacy Network