Australia must take strong action to halt Israeli settler violence, plans for Israeli settlements in Gaza

Apr 17, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has reiterated its demand for strong Australian action against illegal Israeli settlement activity, after a horror weekend of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, and following statements by a far-right Israeli Knesset member that the Israeli Government would begin working on plans for settlements in Gaza.

APAN calls on the Australian Government to:

  • impose sanctions and travel bans against illegal Israeli settlers and soldiers who have attacked Palestinians in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem;
  • impose sanctions and travel bans against Israeli officials who have incited violence against and the displacement of Palestinians to make way for settlements;
  • ban Australians from funding Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank; and
  • investigate whether groups supporting West Bank settler activity are benefiting from Australian tax deductible gift recipient status.

APAN’s demand comes after dozens of Israeli settlers raided a Palestinian village in the occupied West Bank last week, shooting, setting fire to houses and cars, and killing one Palestinian man and injuring 25 others.

It also follows statements from Israeli Knesset member Limor Son Har-Melech that the Israeli Government envisioned a “large and spacious settlement” in Gaza, plans for which would begin in earnest after the Knesset returned from its recess.

Israeli officials have also recently called for the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians from Gaza, and for Israel to “continue to pressure them, using force, starvation and difficult conditions.”

There has been a drastic escalation of Israeli settler violence in the occupied West Bank during the past six months, with 700 settler attacks on Palestinian communities reported since 7 October 2023. 

Armed Israeli settlers and soldiers from Israel’s Occupying Forces have killed 460 Palestinians and displaced hundreds more from their lands in the occupied West Bank during this period.

While the Australian Government joined a host of European nations in December 2023 to condemn Israeli settlements and “remind Israel of its obligations under…the Geneva Convention,” it is clear the Israeli Government is ignoring this reminder.

Since this time, the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand, France and Spain have imposed sanctions and/or travel bans against extremist Israeli settlers.

Australia must immediately follow suit and demonstrate that its condemnation of Israel’s settler activity extends beyond words, and into action and consequences.