While Gaza is reaching acute stage of catastrophic humanitarian crisis with war crimes being committed by the state of Israel, Western leaders including those in Australia are still maintaining their mantra of Israel has the right to defend itself.” 

A number of Australian politicians including Muslim federal ministers Ed Husic and Anne Aly and senators Fatima Payman and Mehreen Faruqi as well as NSW state minister Jihad Dib and Liberal MP Tina Ayyad have come out calling for Australia to support Palestinians facing a humanitarian crisis.

Many Muslim community organisations including ANIC, AFIC, IFAM, LMA, ISRA and many others have written to the prime minister and NSW premier showing concern for policy-bias in total support for Israel against the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

In letters to Australian PM Anthony Albanese and NSW Premier Chris Minns, President of The Australian Imam’s Council (ANIC) Imam Shadi Alsuleiman expressed his disappointment over the government’s handling of the current crisis and that Israel must be called out for its aggression and held accountable for its actions in Gaza.

“The Australian Government must immediately condemn Israel’s indiscriminate attacks against, and the collective punishment of, Palestinians in Gaza. The Government must avoid making one-sided statements and declarations and disregard or ignore the violence and suffering inflicted by the Israeli Government on more than 2.2 million civilians residing in Gaza,” Sheikh Shadi wrote.

ANIC also demanded the lightening of the Opera House and Parliament House with Palestinian flag colours in solidarity with Palestinian victims and their families. 

Referring to the Israeli bombardment of the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City on Tuesday 17 October where hundreds of wounded and sick people died, Senator Fatima Payman said, “Given yesterday’s catastrophe, the destruction of Al Ahli Baptist Hospital in Palestine and the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, it would be empathetic and prudent to light up Australian landmarks with the colours of the Palestinian flag.”

Dr Anne Aly, Early Childhood Education Minister and a professor of counter-terrorism said that she felt the pain of Australian Palestinians, Muslim and Christian while calling for a cease fire.

“I feel the pain of Australian Muslims, and I know that Palestinians have for a long time felt that they have not been seen and have not been heard, that they have been forgotten by the international community, and I want to acknowledge that to them, ” Dr Aly said.

Ed Husic while deploring Hamas’ atrocities on Saturday 7 October, spoke against Israeli revenge attacks and collective punishment for Palestinians saying, “Now, there’ll be people that are very uncomfortable with me making that remark. But it goes to the heart of what Palestinians and those who care for them in Australia [think], which is that Palestinian lives are considered lesser than.”

“Israel has described what happened on October 7 [as] Israel’s equivalent of 9/11. The number of Palestinians that have been killed so far equates to the number of people who lost their lives in 9/11. We don’t see any public landmarks in Australia that are being lit up in red, black, white and green,” Mr Husic further added.

NSW Minister Jihad Dib described the misery of people in Gaza with no end in sight saying, “We’ve heard heartbreaking stories of death. Missile strikes. Psychological and physical warfare tactics…I’ve heard stories of women forced to sleep in the street amid dead bodies because there is nowhere to go. They have nowhere to hide of all flee running out of water and food.”

Greens senator Dr Mehreen Faruqi reminding the federal parliament of the context of the current crisis pointing out the decades of occupation and human rights violations of the Palestinian people was highly critical of the pro-Israel stance of the Australian government.

“Every single day, we are waking up to scenes of utter horror and devastation in Gaza, as Israel continues its deadly and indiscriminate bombing of civilians…Israel is committing war crimes and collective punishment in plain sight. The hypocrisy of Western governments is also in plain sight. World leaders are silently watching this catastrophe unfold. They should hang their heads in shame forever,” Dr Faruqi said.

She further added, “Australia’s foreign minister keeps saying ‘all civilian lives matter’ but then refuses to condemn Israel for its war crimes. You refuse to call for a stop to the war on Gaza. You refuse to call for an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine.”

“For violence to end and peace to prevail, there has to be justice, and, for that justice, there must be an end to the siege and blockade of Gaza. There must be an end to Israel’s illegal occupation and oppression. So stop the bombs, stop the war on Gaza and free Palestine, ” Dr Faruqi concluded.

Greens senator Janet Rice speaking at the Melbourne Rally on Sunday 15 October called for immediate ceasefire, ending of occupation of Palestinian lands and for the establishment of a just and lasting peace.

NSW MP Kylea Think pointed out the war crimes being committed by Israel in Gaza saying, “Collective punishment is a war crime, and it must stop. As is the use of white phosphorous in bombs, and forced population transfers.”

Victorian Senator Lidia Thorpe, an indigenous Australian echoed her support for indigenous people of Palestine saying, “As long as we allow for the continued oppression of Palestinians, we will not see peace in the Middle East.”

Greens federal MP, Adam Brandt called on Australia to stop the invasion of Gaza saying, “This is now moving beyond self-defence into an invasion. It is up to Australia as a peace loving country to join the push to stop it.”

Recently Senior Labor federal minister Tony Burke has come out in support of the local Palestinian community and their right to grieve for their family members in Gaza who have died, injured and are suffering.

“We can’t say we only grieve for certain people who are slaughtered. We can’t have a situation, as a nation, where we only formally acknowledge particular deaths,” Mr Burke said.

He said that there was nowhere in Australia where the colours of Palestinians had been acknowledged as worthy of grief until Canterbury-Bankstown Council in his electorate chose to fly the Palestinian flag, a decision he said he completely supported and expected to be repeated more broadly.

NSW Parliamentary Friends of Palestine consisting of a large number parliamentarians issued a statement on the current crisis in support of the Palestinian people:

“The terrible acts of terror committed by Hamas are deeply inhumane. We call for the immediate release of hostages and reiterate our condemnation of all violence against civilians.

We call on the Government of Australia to clearly call upon all actors, including the state of Israel, to comply with international humanitarian law.

We are deeply alarmed by the unfolding catastrophic humanitarian crisis in the Gaza

Strip which is putting at risk millions of people who were not involved in the acts of terror by Hamas

Thousands of people have been killed, with nearly ten thousand injured and displaced, including women, children and the elderty. Food, water, fuel and medical supplies are running out in the Gaza Strip compounding an already dire situation in

one of the most densely populated places on Earth.

UNICEF has noted that Gaza’s children are paying the heaviest price with hundreds already dead. We note half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is under 18 years of age

We note that millions on the Gaza Strip have fled to the south but there is nowhere in the south to seek safety. Many have turned back to Gaza. Southern Gaza has no means to support millions fleeing the north.

Trucks carrying aid have been waiting for days at the Rafa crossing between Egypt and Gaza.

We urge Australia to support the innocent citizens of Gaza and do its part to urge the authorities to allow urgent relief, essential supplies and aid workers to enter Gaza safely and to ensure a safe passage for those fleeing the violence

We stand with Palestine and the Palestinian-Australian community who are currently facing a catastrophic crisis.”

Signatories to the statement:

Julia Finn MP

Jenny Leong MP

Stephen Lawrence MLC

Lynda Voltz MP

Sarah Kaine MLC

Kobi Shetty MP

Charisma Kaliyanda MP

Amanda Cohn MLC

Anthony D’Adam MLC

Tina Ayyad MP

Mark Buttigieg MLC

Nathan Hagarty MP

Kylie Wilkinson MP

Cameron Murphy MLC

Warren Kirby MP

Abigail Boyd MLC

Hugh McDermott MP

Tamara Smith MP