Six months on, APAN mourns Palestinians killed in Israel’s genocide and demands Australian action, not rhetoric

Apr 7, 2024

For six months, hundreds of thousands of people across this continent have joined millions around the globe to protest Israel’s ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza, and this rogue state’s occupation and terrorism of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) today expresses its sorrow for every one of the more than 33,000 Palestinians killed, the more than 75,000 people injured by Israel during the past 183 days, and the thousands more missing, presumed dead under the rubble of Israel’s bombardments.

We know that numbers, alone, dehumanise. They can never account for the intricate and beautiful webs of lives, dreams, families and social connections that have been shattered, for the bloodlines and human histories wiped from the earth forever, for the lifelong and intergenerational trauma that ripples – and will continue to ripple – around the world, including through the Palestinian community on this continent, as a result of Israel’s six months of violence.

APAN stands in solidarity with every Palestinian, ally and person of good conscience who has been terrorised, intimidated, harassed, discriminated against or silenced for raising their voice in objection to this ongoing Nakba.

APAN decries the lack of political will to end Israel’s atrocities, and the fact that it took the killing of Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom and her World Central Kitchen colleagues to shock Australia’s political establishment into beginning to meet Israel’s brazen international law violations with sterner language.

Sterner language, but still not strong language. Sterner language, but still not a sign of action suggesting there are consequences for Israel’s war crimes and atrocities. 

As Israel’s genocide in Gaza now enters its seventh month, the Australian Government has still not offered stern language, let alone any action, in response to the Israeli Occupying Forces’ recent two-week siege and destruction of Al-Shifa Hospital.

Australia has failed to use any one of the considerable diplomatic and economic tools at its disposal to apply pressure to Israel over its execution of medical staff, patients and internally displaced people sheltering in that hospital, or the unspeakably brutal sexual violence perpetrated against women in that hospital. 

Australia has failed to act to prevent Israel’s slaughter of Palestinian aid workers, UN staff, journalists, ambulance officers, Red Crescent medical staff, and Palestinian civilians in Gaza, all of them protected by international law, despite the International Court of Justice’s legally binding ruling giving Australia, and other signatories to the Genocide Convention, the grounds, the means and the power to do so.

Australian dollars ensure that the war machine rages on, seemingly unperturbed by the blood of Palestinians that paint the streets of Gaza red, with the recent announcement that more than $900 million in taxpayer funds would go to Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit, as part of a new contract for it to supply the Australian Defence Force with technology “battle-tested” on Palestinians.

During the past six months, the Australian Government has offered only passive platitudes, rhetoric and “concern”, entirely empty of consequence, as its preferred responses to each one of the Israeli Government’s violations of international law and its desecration of human life.

It is time for the Australian Government to lead other middle power states in the world and take decisive and immediate diplomatic action.

It is time that the Australian Government reckoned with and addressed the anti-Palestinian racism and Islamophobia that run rife through this country’s political and media institutions. 

It is time for Palestinian lives to be recognised as being equal to and as valuable as the lives of others.

The Australian community will neither forgive nor forget these past six months. Those elected representatives who have downplayed, excused, ignored or provided cover for Israel’s genocide in Gaza and its violent occupation of the West Bank will be held to account come the next federal election.

The Australian Government must act now and:

  • Demand an immediate, permanent and unconditional ceasefire
  • Demand an end to the siege of Gaza, and the immediate and unfettered flow of humanitarian aid into the territory via all available land crossings
  • Demand an end to Israel’s policy of apartheid, and its occupation of the West Bank
  • Expel the Israeli Ambassador to Australia and recall Australia’s Ambassador to Israel
  • End the two-way trade of military technology, weapons and components with Israel, including ending the issuing of export permits for components for weapons being used by Israel in its genocidal attacks on Gaza
  • Implement a travel ban on extremist Israeli settlers
  • Remove the tax-deductible status of non-profit organisations supporting illegal settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territories
  • Commit to a political resolution that centres justice, equality, self-determination and the right to return for Palestinians.