This week the recently retired Commander in Chief of the Israeli army, Lt Col Benny Gantz is in Australia. He is the guest of the United Israel Appeal, an NGO which largely supports Jewish immigration to Israel.
Gantz was the head of the Israeli forces during the two most recent carnages on Gaza, as well as Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank. Gantz has been reported to have said that Operation Protective Edge, which killed over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza, was the “right act in the right hour”.
APAN’s President, Bishop George Browning raised concern about his visit stating “There is nothing right about bombing schools, homes, hospitals and essential infrastructure which were clearly not military targets. The UN Inquiry found evidence of Israeli war crimes (as well as by Hamas) and we are deeply concerned that Gantz is justifying the unjustifiable”.
“Gantz has been quoted as stating the blockade of Gaza must be eased for the sake of the 1.8million people who are “stuck” there. This seems to be completely incongruent with the way that the military routinely shoot any Palestinians that stray anywhere near the borders of the tiny enclave or go out to sea to fish.” “The siege of Gaza is illegal, immoral and has to be lifted is there will ever be a chance for peace in the Holy Land”, said Bishop Browning.
The invitation by United Israel Appeal is unfortunate and is inconsistent with Australian values of respect for human lives and supporting the oppressed, rather than celebrating those who are implicated in war crimes against a hostage population.