The Australian Prime Minister, Scott Morrison’s comments that, “Israel unquestionably has the right to defend itself and its people, unquestionably“, has raised concern amongst Muslim community leaders and Palestine advocacy groups of the pro-Israel policy of the current Australian government amid relentless bombardment by Israel that UN says is ‘Hell on Earth’ for the lives of children in Gaza.
Israeli warplanes have carried out 1,810 airstrikes on the Gaza Strip resulting in the death of 232 people including 65 children with 1,900 wounded inflicting more than $323 million of damage and destroying at least 1,335 homes, 184 residential towers and office buildings, 66 schools and primary healthcare clinics and 33 media institutions, displacing more than 72,000 Palestinians so far.
The Australian Muslim Advocacy Network (AMAN) has submitted a legal complaint to the Australian Government, and also written to the Leader of the Opposition.
“The situation unfolding in Palestine and response from the Australian Government and Federal Opposition are deeply concerning and profoundly impacting on the psychological well-being and security of many Australian Muslims, many Australians of Palestinian origin, as well as many Australians from the broader community.”
“The unprovoked Israeli state violence on peaceful worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, on the holiest nights of Ramadan, was particularly painful for Australian Muslims, as was the media and our government’s scarce attendance to it. It left many feeling very helpless. For many Muslims the footages coming out from the Mosque echoed the violence of the Christchurch massacre on peaceful worshippers, and no doubt, it would have been celebrated by anti-Muslim groups and individuals the world over.”
“The harrowing scenes of children and families murdered by the Israeli military (61 children as we write this letter) renders government statements of unconditional support for Israel deeply insensitive, out of touch, lacking fundamental respect and empathy, and discriminatory against fellow Australians.”
The United States is not an honest broker in the Israel-Gaza conflict, John Dugard, a former United Nations Special Rapporteur to the UNHCR has said.
He told BBC World News: “I think it has become very clear that the US is not an honest broker. First of all there’s the evidence provided by the failure of United States to support a resolution at this stage, but secondly there’s the fact that the United States continues to operate its embassy from Jerusalem, which is contrary to international law.
“And also there is the fact that the United States pays military aid or tribute to Israel in the form of $3.8bn a year. So the United States has disqualified itself as an honest broker,” he added.
The US has been blocking attempts to issue a joint statement from the UN Security Council saying it would not help with the de-escalation of hostilities, but it has called for a ceasefire.
The UN Security Council’s efforts for a truce between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers remain stalled, meanwhile, with the US continuing to veto action on the issue.
The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network APAN has launched an email campaign – asking local parliamentarians and political leaders to call on Israel to stop the bombing. An unprecedented 15,500 people have sent emails already.
Vigils in support of those suffering in Gaza has been organised throughout Australia: APAN’s events diary
Adelaide: 22 May,11am. Vigil. Find out more
Brisbane: 22 May, 10am, Protest. Find out more
Cairns: 22 May, 3pm, Esplanade, outside RSL
Darwin:23 May, 9.30-12.30, Find out more
Hobart: 22 May, 11am, Find out more.
Perth: 23 May 11am, Rally Find out more
Sydney: 22 May, 1pm, Protest. Find out more
Wollongong: 22 May, 1pm, Protest Find out more