The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) welcomes calls by Labor MP Julian Hill for extremist Israeli settlers to be banned from visiting Australia, and for it to be illegal for Australian citizens to fund settlement activity in the West Bank.
While the Australian Government has accepted that Israel’s settlements in the West Bank contravene the Geneva Convention, Mr Hill is correct in his assertion that the government’s “firm words and stern finger pointing” have not been enough to end the rapid and violent expansion of these settlements.
It’s estimated that as many as 700,000 Israeli settlers – roughly 10 percent of Israel’s population – live in illegal settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.
During the past 100 days, Israeli violence has increased exponentially, perpetrated by both settlers and Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank, with raids killing 352 Palestinians, including 94 children. At least 5850 Palestinians have been arrested in the West Bank during this time,
It is well and truly time the Australian Government committed to implementing tangible legal and policy measures, including sanctions, to ensure Israel immediately ceases its settlement activity, dismantles its settlements and moves its civilians from occupied territory.
As Mr Hill points out, these measures do, indeed, include banning settlers – who by their very nature as settlers are breaching international law – from entering this country, and putting an end to any financial support of settlement activity originating from people or companies on this continent.
Howls of outrage from Zionist lobby groups over the legal and moral imperative for the Australian Government to act in alignment with the Geneva Convention demonstrate the level of entitlement these groups feel to influence our government to ignore international law and instead side with a genocidal state that is terrorising the people it occupies.
It’s against this background that we must note that Australia’s voice is only “respected” in the international community as long as it speaks for accountability before the law and the rights of the oppressed to enjoy justice. As such, Foreign Minister Penny Wong must ensure that there are political and economic consequences for Israel’s repeated violations of international law.
Those consequences must extend as far as Gaza, where Australian calls for “restraint” during the past 100 days have clearly gone unheeded by Israel, which has killed at least 23,968 people and injured 60,582 more.
The Australian Government must pledge its support for South Africa’s case accusing Israel of genocide, which was heard in the International Court of Justice late last week, and commit to fulfilling its responsibilities under the Genocide Convention, by using all tools at its disposal to prevent Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.