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The Australian Trade Minister wants to sign a free-trade agreement with Israel this year!
Minister for Trade, Dan Tehan, has just received a report from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. A report based on an inquiry he commissioned with the aim of working out how to expand trade and investment with Israel.
The Trade Minister might want a free-trade deal – but the majority of public submissions made to the inquiry opposed the idea of a free trade agreement with Israel due to Israel’s blatant disregard of human rights.
Palestinian advocacy groups, as well as Jewish organisations submitted to the inquiry that Israel’s occupation, illegal settlements, and military attacks on Gaza mean it would be completely wrong for Australia to reward Israel with this advantaged trade status. The report from the Department won’t be made public, so we need to make sure all parliamentarians hear our voices.
The Minister must not reward Israel for the ongoing illegal occupation and its many other crimes.
Australia claims to be a passionate advocate of an international rules-based order. We currently have a range of sanctions in place against seven countries. Why should Israel be treated any differently when it commits such gross violations of Palestinian human rights and is in breach of so many international laws?
Earlier this month, a petition signed by 22,000 Australians was tabled in the Australian parliament. This petition calls on targeted sanctions until Israel complies with international law.
It is clear that a free-trade agreement that rewards Israel would be bad for Palestinians, it would also be bad for Australia’s reputation as a country that respects international law.
Given the Minister wants to fast-track this deal, we need to act now!
For more see:
Minister’s announcement of his desire for Free Trade Agreement
Public submissions to DFAT feasibility study
Petition signed by 22,000 Australians calling for targeted sanctions on Israel
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