Stripped bare: The Albanese government’s support for genocide

Feb 1, 2024
Israeli flag covered in red handprints representing blood of Arabs at an anti-Israel protest.

It is now very obvious that the Albanese government is determined to assist Israel in ensuring that the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) are undermined and rendered unworkable.

Within hours of Israel being ordered by the ICJ (approved in a 16 to one vote by the court’s judges) to “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to address the adverse conditions of life faced by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip”, Australia “paused” its funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), the UN agency currently attempting to manage refugee camps for more than a million Palestinians and in charge of distributing food and humanitarian aid.

The pretext for Australia’s action was the allegation by Israel, made immediately after the ICJ order, that 12 UNRWA workers in Gaza participated in the Hamas attack of 7 October last year. Whether Australia knew in advance that Israel would make the allegation in the event the ICJ ordered Israel to “take immediate and effective measures” to enable the flow of aid to Palestinians, is unknown, but the speed of the Australian response, without asking any questions – in conformity with the US of course – is striking.

There is a pattern here that can be followed. The Albanese government refused to support any aspect of South Africa’s case to the ICJ, saying it didn’t “support the premise” of the case, following the Washington line of it being “meritless” and “without factual basis”, while using slightly different vacuous language, such as it wasn’t a “pathway to peace” or a “political solution”.

Apparently Australia’s “pathway to peace” and a “political solution” is to be one of four “countries” to provide direct support for American and British military operations against Yemen.

This is all in accord with the complete failure of the Albanese government to condemn the mass murder and mass destruction occurring in Gaza. The massacre of at least 30,000 people, the physical maiming of tens of thousands more, the terrorising of more than two million, the destruction of hospitals, schools, dense urban housing and infrastructure, and the deliberate targeting of refugee camps, food and medical supplies, and the promotion of starvation and disease throughout the whole population, is simply a faux “concern”.

If all these failures are indicative of a morally bankrupt government, then that has been amplified by Penny Wong’s deeply cynical political exercise in informing Israeli president Herzog and other Israeli leaders who have expressed their intention to destroy Palestinian society in Gaza, that Australia stood “in solidarity” with them.

Wong’s “solidarity” was accepted by Herzog with gratitude, and when Wong dishonestly said that Australia as a “nation” was in solidarity, she was only accurate in her representation of the Australian Labor-Liberal political establishment’s allegiance to whatever policy position was held by Washington.

The Albanese’s government’s explicit “solidarity” with Israel, especially to Herzog, who has been specifically referenced by the ICJ in relation to their order to Israel “to prevent and punish the direct and public incitement to commit genocide”, highlights the contempt that the Albanese government has to the United Nations except as a platform to use for blatant partisan political purposes or in abject vassalage to Washington.

The Australian government – in fact the whole Labor-Liberal political class – has offered no support at all to the efforts of Secretary-General Guterres to stop the Gaza slaughter, in word or deed. The Albanese government virtually shunned the visit of UN special envoy Francesca Albanese to Australia, Penny Wong refusing to meet her. This again reflects a persistent hostility of Labor to the UN, a hostility which has been in operation since the bipartisan Labor-Liberal refusal to adhere to human rights conventions in relation to refugees and the rights of children.

No doubt Australia’s senior leaders Albanese, Wong and Marles, feel safe in helping Israel avoid the order to ensure the provision of urgent services and humanitarian aid to Gaza, even though UN special rapporteur Francesca Albanese has said that Australia could be in violation of their obligations under the Genocide Convention by “collectively punishing millions of Palestinians at the most critical time.”

Human rights lawyer Francis Boyle has gone further, saying that states which have cut funds to the UNRWA are doing more than “aiding and abetting Israeli Genocide against the Palestinians in violation of Genocide Convention article 3 (e) criminalising ‘complicity’ in genocide”. According to Boyle they “are now also directly violating Genocide Convention article 2(c) by themselves: ‘Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part’”.

The wretched banality of Australia as a fully-fledged lackey of the United States is on full global display. As writer Jennifer Wilson has so aptly stated:

“There can be little more morally degenerate than the enabling of and cooperation with what the ICJ has warned is Israel’s “plausible genocide” in Gaza. Wong and Albanese have lost all moral authority and should prepare themselves for their every public utterance to be greeted with contempt, derision and scorn.”

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