For Albanese, one Australian life matters more than 32,000 dead Palestinians

Apr 5, 2024
Rafah, Palestinian Territories. 08th Mar, 2024. Palestinians participate in a burial of five people who were killed in an Israeli air strike on a house in the Swedish village (Al-Ezbah). The house belongs to the Abu Salima Najm family Five dead and dozens injured, near the Egyptian border on the seashore in the city of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip Image: Alamy/ Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa/Alamy Live News

How Albanese doesn’t swallow his tongue as he vociferously demands “full accountability” from Israel for the killing of Zomi Frankcom yet remains silent on 32,000 other killings is anybody’s guess. He waved his metaphorical fist at Netanyahu and told of Australia’s “outrage” at Zomi’s death. But Albanese left out the bit about many Australians’ outrage at the indiscriminate killing of 32,000 innocent Palestinians; not just one of our own.

Has he relayed to Netanyahu since October 7 that many of us want an end to the massacres and catastrophic circumstances inflicted upon the Palestinian people? I guess he forgot to mention that to Bibi when he railed against him for one death.

When we heard of the tragic news that Zomi Frankcom, an Australian aid worker, had been killed in her selfless act of helping others, we can all feel the grief of losing a daughter, a sister, a friend. But why only now do we hear the human side of Albanese and Penny Wong who held their tongues when over 13,000 children were slaughtered? Were the Palestinian children and babies not mourn-worthy? It has taken the death of one young Australian for Albanese to find his voice and his ire. It looks suspiciously like a Palestinian child is not worth as much as an Australian. Times that by 13,000 children dead in the dust of Gaza and that makes the Australian government look heartless, cowardly and complicit.

I expected so much more of Albanese when he came to power. I thought he was decent, and I thought he cared about collective humanity that reached far beyond our borders. In fact, in 2002 he said (prior to gaining the heady heights of the political elite) –

“Self-defence is not a blank cheque and responding to terrorism does not in any way free Israel from its obligations under international law, nor does it justify creating a human rights and humanitarian crisis in Palestine. The IDF routinely uses tanks, Apache helicopter gunships and F-16 fighter jets against a population that has no military whatsoever and none of the protective institutions of a modern state.”

That was pre-Prime Ministership and one may justifiably ask what happens to people when they gain the top job? Where does their humanity go?

The deep shame of all this is that Australia has supplied Israel with components for F-35 fighter jets used to kill Palestinians. Our government has supplied justification for genocide and given moral support to Israel as it slaughters far more than one Australian. The targeting of the World Central Kitchen car which Zomi and her fellow victims were travelling in was in Gaza, in part, because Australia has supported the Palestinian slaughter. Albanese and Wong should hang their heads in shame that we lost a decent young woman.

This tragedy was inadvertently facilitated by the Australian government’s gutless refusal to stand up and be counted. To some extent it falls at their feet that Zomi was in Gaza in the first place, serving food to the starving Gazans which previously relied on UNWRA. You may recall at one stage that Australia stopped UNWRA from supplying aid – therefore people like Zomi felt compelled to fill the void or else watch people die of starvation. It’s also suspicious that yet another aid group has been targeted by Israel, implying they want Palestinians to be without help, aid or friends.

Penny Wong and Albanese are both parents so can imagine the agony of the possibility of losing a child, let alone all your children in one bomb strike. The footage and photos of women who cradle their child, or children, dead in their arms as they weep over the blood-stained white cloth that their child must rest in forever, simply tears at my throat. Penny Wong left a note and flowers which read, “For Zomi, Your commitment to humanity will not be forgotten. Vale, Penny Wong.” I’m sorry Penny, but there isn’t enough water in Gaza to wash your conscience clean.

The lack of humanity by Wong and Albanese will also not be forgotten. The unambiguous, stark and immediate reaction to one death as opposed to 32,000 deaths, which the Australian government has supported, is there for all to see. Extending condolences simply glosses over Albanese’s previous backing of Israel’s dubious claim to self-defence and not immediately calling for a ceasefire. His attempt to show compassion to his constituents means very little when he supports a genocide.

How can the Labor government still call Israel their “friends” after Albanese acknowledged that this was a targeted attack on one of our own?

I don’t imagine many countries look upon our stance in a favourable light. We are complicit and guilty of allowing the slaughter of innocent people on the other side of the world. Our leader claims he is trying to quell any division of the Jewish and Muslim communities, but we elect leaders to make tough decisions that are perhaps not popular with everyone but serves the higher calling of human rights and international law. Since when is an elected leader supposed to drop the ball on such important social issues just because he doesn’t want to upset people. Social cohesion comes about when justice is seen to be carried out for all humankind, not just a select few.

It’s a tragedy that such a vibrant and decent human being as Zomi Frankcom should be cut down in the prime of her life – especially when she was selflessly trying to help other people. But equally tragic is the loss of any innocent life. Perhaps the horror of having a young Australian woman blown to pieces by an IDF targeted killing is a step too far for most of us – yet is this what it took for Albanese and Wong to be outraged? Haven’t they seen the footage of the hell perpetrated on Palestinians?

By the time you finish reading this article the figure of dead children will be over 14,000. When is the Australian government going to act, correct its moral failure and be on the right side of history?

Anthony, remember your words from 2002 and step up to the decency that we all expected of you.

For more on this topic, P&I recommends:

‘Everyone in the world needs to see this’: footage shows IDF drone killing Gazans

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