Australia must hold Israel to account over Flour Massacres

Mar 5, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has demanded the Australian Government immediately expel the Israeli ambassador, cut its ties with Israel and impose sanctions on Israeli figures responsible for committing or inciting war crimes in Gaza, to hold the state to account over its repeated targeting and killing of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid.

Overnight, Israeli forces fired on Palestinians waiting for a delivery of humanitarian aid in Deir al-Balah, after the previous day shelling a humanitarian aid truck in the same location, killing at least nine people who had been waiting for a delivery of flour.

These Flour Massacres have become an all-too-frequent occurrence, coming after Israeli forces fired on Palestinians waiting to receive flour from another aid convoy on 29 February, killing at least 112 people and injuring at least 750.

Israel’s massacres of Palestinians desperately seeking aid demonstrate the state’s brazen flouting of International Court of Justice’s orders for it to act to prevent genocide in Gaza and ensure unfettered access to humanitarian aid in the territory.

They also come as the UN warns of a “looming famine” in Gaza. The World Health Organisation has reported that 10 children have already been officially registered as having starved to death in the besieged territory.

APAN today reiterates its call for the Australian Government to take material action to hold Israel accountable to international law.

APAN urges the Australian Government to act to prevent genocide in Gaza, by:

  • demanding an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire to allow unfettered access to  humanitarian aid for Palestinians in Gaza;
  • following in the footsteps of the European Commission and immediately reinstating Australian funding contributions to UNRWA to enable the agency to continue its life-saving work;
  • ending all trade and military contracts with the Israeli Government;
  • implementing targeted economic sanctions against Israeli ministers and figures who have incited genocide and occupation in Gaza;
  • immediately expelling the Israeli ambassador;
  • proactively collaborating with other middle-power states to isolate Israel on the world stage until it complies with international law;
  • implementing policy measures to ensure that Australia plays an active role in advocating for a political resolution to the crisis, which centres the Palestinian right to self-determination, equality, justice and right to return.

Quotes attributed to APAN President Nasser Mashni:

“Israel’s Flour Massacres demonstrate that it has no regard for human life or international law and once again highlight the inaction from the Australian Government and other Western governments over this continuing genocide.

“There’s a pattern at play here – it started when Western governments failed to act when Israel bombed its first Palestinian hospital – Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in October – and 36 hospitals later, these governments still offer Israel impunity for its violence. Are these Flour Massacres the next part of this pattern?

“The tenor of our Foreign Minister’s statements have barely shifted in five months, and the government maintains its support for a state that is deliberately starving, massacring and ethnically cleansing Palestinians from their homeland.

“Our Foreign Minister must take all actions necessary to demonstrate that Australia will not allow Israel to continue to trample on the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza, and to so callously disregard and violate international law.

“We must immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador and impose sanctions, follow the lead of the European Commission and immediately reinstate our funding to UNRWA, and urge other donor countries that have frozen their funds to do the same.”