As footage emerged showing a nine-year-old and a 15-year-old boy being gunned down in Israel’s continuing violence in the West Bank this week, the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has demanded that the Australian Government show moral fortitude and act to put an end to Israeli oppression and violence against Palestinians.
APAN President Nasser Mashni said not only did the international community need to put a decisive end to Israeli war crimes in Gaza, but it needed to stop the insidious and arbitrary military occupation that served Israel’s practice of apartheid in the West Bank.
“During the past two months Israel has carried out increasingly frequent and violent military raids in the West Bank, killing at least 242 Palestinians, including 50 children,” Mr Mashni said.
“It’s disgusting that the Israeli military has no qualms about shooting Palestinian children dead to further its settler colonial aspirations, and just as disgusting that our government has not condemned this violence in the strongest language and most decisive action.
“Meanwhile, in the first four days of its ‘truce’, Israel has gone about arresting 133 Palestinians in the West Bank with one hand, while it released 150 political prisoners with the other.
“People – including women and children – continue to be snatched from their homes and held under administrative detention, without legal proceedings, based on ‘secret’ evidence, without charge, trial or conviction.
“Our government must ensure there are political and economic consequences for Israel’s violations of international law.”
Amnesty International earlier this month reported that more than 2,200 Palestinian men and women had been detained since 7 October. Meanwhile, Israeli human rights organisation HaMoked reported the total number of Palestinians held without charge or trial in administrative detention had risen from 1,319 on 1 October to 2,070 on 1 November.
Most people are detained for so-called offences relating to their opposition to illegal Israeli occupation, which Mr Mashni said was part of the process of criminalising and dehumanising Palestinians.
People are often abused or tortured while in prison, with Save the Children reporting that children who had been detained were often strip-searched, beaten, and transported between detention centres in small cages.
“It’s all part of an apartheid system designed to suppress Palestinian political organising against Israeli occupation, and it persists even as Israel proclaims itself to be a democracy,” Mr Mashni said.
“This is not democracy – this is apartheid – and Australia must act to put an end to it.
“While we demand a permanent ceasefire and end to Israel’s siege on Gaza, we must not look away from Israel’s violations of international law in the West Bank. We must have the moral fortitude to act against apartheid.”