One week since ICJ ruling, Israel still flouts law – Australia must act: APAN

Feb 2, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has sent an open letter to federal members of parliament today, calling on them to take urgent measures to ensure Australia holds Israel to account for its ongoing violations of international law in Gaza.

The open letter marks one week since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Israel had a plausible case of genocide to answer to in the besieged territory, ordered Israel to take measures to prevent genocide in Gaza, and gave the Israeli Government four weeks to present a report detailing the actions it had taken to this end. 

APAN’s open letter called on the Australian Government to take all possible measures to support the ICJ’s legally binding ruling, including:

  • support for an immediate ceasefire and unfettered access to humanitarian aid; 
  • a freezing of military support, cooperation and exports to Israel; 
  • identification and advice to all Australian citizens fighting in the Israel Defence Force that their actions may contribute to genocidal acts and other international crimes; and
  • support for urgent International Criminal Court investigations of the backlog of cases against Israel for its litany of international law violations.

APAN President Nasser Mashni said even with the first of those four weeks granted by the court having now passed, it was evident Israel intended to not only proceed with its violence in Gaza, but also to eliminate Palestinians from their land in order to construct new Israeli settlements.

“Palestinians can’t wait three more weeks for Israel to report to the ICJ – Israel is defying the highest court in the world and continuing to commit genocide in Gaza, and the international community must intervene urgently to ensure Israel’s compliance,” Mr Mashni said.

During the past seven days, Israel’s Occupying Forces have killed more than 1000 Palestinians, bringing the death toll to more than 27,000, the vast majority of them women and children.

APAN’s open letter also highlights the Israeli Government’s continued blockade and hampering of access of humanitarian aid convoys, and the resulting food insecurity being experienced by the bulk of the Palestinian population in Gaza. 

The letter states that this food insecurity will be compounded by the decision of Australia and 17 other nations to freeze funding for UNRWA, an organisation the UN Secretary General Antonion Guterres as “the backbone of all humanitarian response in Gaza.”

UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Michael Fakhri, has said “famine was imminent” and now “inevitable” as a result of this move.

“The Israeli Government is a flagrant contravening the ICJ’s legally binding ruling, in broad daylight, in a series of actions and statements that are published for all the world to see,” Mr Mashni said.

“The Australian Government must not wait any longer to use its influence to intervene to put an end to these atrocities.

“We need Australian politicians to stop uttering both-sideisms in regards to international legal obligations in Gaza, to unequivocally condemn Israel’s violations of international law and to act to ensure Israel’s compliance with the ICJ ruling.”