The Australian Parliament besmirches us all by refusing Gaza ceasefire

Feb 29, 2024
Canberra is Australia's capital city where the government works. It has important buildings, museums, and a big lake. People visit to learn about politics and history.

It must be regarded as one of the most despicable and morally repugnant actions ever taken by an Australian parliament since 1901 when, in the first week of February this year, it refused by a huge majority to demand a ceasefire in Gaza as Israel prepared for a military assault on Rafah, where they had forcibly massed an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians in what can only be described as a massive concentration camp.

The vast majority of the people now seeking refuge in Rafah have already had their homes, businesses and lives reduced to rubble during the last four months. The accompanying mass murder, maiming and deprivation of all means of survival which has driven them, stage by stage, to move south to Rafah, has involved planned systematic military barbarity, each stage inexorably denying all means of sustaining life.

The Australian parliament’s exposure of its own moral rot is stunning, for it represents a refusal to criticise – let alone condemn – the deliberate and planned annihilation of more than 30,000 Palestinians so far. It turns an unblinking cold eye away from the killing of more than 12,000 children in cold blood, the creation of 12,000 orphans (that the murderers failed to kill them along with the rest of their families is surely rated as a military failure by the standards expected of the IDF), and the pure hell on earth for two million people with no means to defend themselves.

The Australian government has stated “solidarity” with the Netanyahu administration throughout the last four months, even though it has long been clear that the intent of Israel is to destroy Gaza utterly, an intent articulated from on high when Netanyahu proclaimed – “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

In relation to Australia’s vote at the UNGA for a ceasefire in December 2023, that vote can be seen more clearly now as a vote for appearances rather than from conviction. It will be recalled that the vote was brought on unexpectedly, taking Australia by surprise, prompting a panicked joint response from the Albanese government and the right-wing governments of Canada and New Zealand conveying a sophistic message which muted their support for a ceasefire at all.

Let’s not forget that Australia refused “to accept the premise” of the South African case to the ICJ out of hand, then refused to support the court’s interim ruling confirming a plausible risk of genocide and gave no support to orders of the court to Israel to prevent genocide. Instead, Australia immediately took action to thwart the ICJ’s instructions by suspending funding to the UNRWA, while having already stated publicly to Jordan that the UNRWA “is the only organisation which delivers the sort of systems and substantive support into the occupied Palestinian territories within the international system”.

We should not forget that Albanese smugly supported the US and UK bombing of Yemen as “proportionate” to Yemen’s attempts to hinder the flow of materiel to Israeli ports via the Red Sea, even though the bombing was not supported by the UN. Nor should we forget that Australia provides military support to Israel in the form of important component parts for military equipment, notably for its F35 aircraft, and intelligence via the US-run facility at Pine Gap.

Yet, suddenly the Australian government has taken to issuing cautionary statements to Israel about launching a military assault in Rafah. This does not mean a shift towards any genuine concern for the plight of the Palestinians, but merely follows the latest musings of US president Joe Biden that “a major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than one million people sheltering there”.

Albanese and Wong are now running the line that the forthcoming invasion of Rafah “would have devastating consequences for civilians”. They now “urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go”. Too late by many months they try to backtrack, saying that “Palestinian civilians cannot be made to pay the price of defeating Hamas”.

Too late and with complete hypocrisy they say that “with the humanitarian situation in Gaza already dire, the impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating.” They say this while withholding funding from the UNRWA.

What cannot be overstated is that there is nothing in what Australia says or does, as with the US, which withdraws support for what Israel is doing. Israel “must listen to its friends” they say. There is no criticism of the daily mass murders that have already occurred; no acknowledgement that the “dire humanitarian situation” which they suddenly see, has existed for months. The “dire humanitarian situation” already existed when Australia offered its “solidarity” with the architects of mass murder.

The only reason that Australia has suddenly switched to uttering cautionary statements to their murderous “friends” is to attempt to absolve themselves from their support for Israel’s crimes. Such absolution is not possible. Openly maintaining “friendship with a regime which murders thousands of children and deliberately cripples and maims thousands of others tells the true story of what is really meant, when Australia says it stands with Israel “holding ourselves to a higher standard because of who we are”.

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