Visa ban on extremist Israeli settlers long overdue and only the first step

Jun 3, 2024

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN)  has welcomed Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s announcement today that the Australian Government will ban extremist Israeli settlers from receiving Australian visas.

The Foreign Minister’s announcement came during Senate Estimates today, and five months after Labor MP Julian Hill first called for extremist Israeli settlers to be banned from visiting Australia.

This long overdue step represents the first tangible form of action implemented by the Australian Government since Israel began its violence against, and genocide of, Palestinians in Gaza after 7 October 2023.

However, it must not be the only form of action the Australian Government takes in response to Israel’s genocide.

The Australian Government must now:

  • Impose targeted sanctions against Israel, including diplomatic and economic measures, to demonstrate its unequivocal condemnation of Israeli aggression and its commitment to upholding international law.
  • Expel the Israeli ambassador, recall its ambassador to Israel and suspend diplomatic relations until Israel ceases its genocide and complies with international law.
  • End the two-way trade of weaponry and components, including the issuing of permits for the export of weapons components where Israel is the end user.

Approximately 700,000 Israeli settlers, accounting for roughly 10 percent of Israel’s population, reside in illegal settlements constructed on stolen Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank.

Since 7 October 2023, Israeli violence has increased exponentially, perpetrated by both settlers and Israeli occupying forces against Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank, with 502 Palestinians killed, including 122 children

Over 5,100 Palestinians have been injured in the West Bank by Israeli settlers or forces during this same time.

In Gaza, Israel’s Occupying Forces have killed more than 36,439 Palestinians, injured 82,627 people, and targeted, blocked and destroyed humanitarian aid convoys, workers and facilities, manufacturing starvation in the territory, in what the founder of Human Rights Watch yesterday said was genocide.

Quotes attributed to APAN President Nasser Mashni:

While we appreciate this overdue step, it cannot be seen as a sufficient response to Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza, or its brutal occupation and settler-colonial violence in the West Bank.

The Australian Government’s delay in implementing this ban reflects a concerning lack of urgency in addressing the plight of Palestinians, which sends a troubling message that Australia is willing to tolerate human rights abuses against Palestinians.

The Australian Government must now go on to impose targeted sanctions on Israel, demonstrating unequivocal condemnation of its aggression and commitment to international law.

In Palestine, every day of inaction means more lives lost, more families torn apart, and more suffering endured at the hands of the rogue state of Israel.