The Palestinian Ambassador has released the following statement on the urgent need for a ceasefire and humanitarian assistance. Below the Ambassador’s statement is further information about activities in relation to the current emergency.
“The military reprisals and collective punishment being carried out by the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people cannot be justified under any excuse. Israel’s vicious attacks, deliberately and methodically perpetrated against a defenseless civilian population, have killed over 9,770 Palestinians, including 4,008 children and over 2,550 women, in just 30 days. The death toll does not yet include the more than 2,200 people who are still missing, buried under the rubble, including over 1,270 children who are unlikely to have survived the brutality of Israel’s lethal and destructive assaults. 1.5 million people have already been internally displaced, while Israel continues its vast destruction and systematic targeting of refugee camps, hospitals, water facilities, and emergency shelters across the besieged Gaza Strip. Gaza remains under a full electricity blackout since 11 October, following Israel’s halt of its power and fuel supply, and the entry of desperately-needed fuel remains banned by Israeli authorities as hunger, dehydration, sickness and desperation spread. In the West Bank, Israel is arresting Palestinians every day, including children, with at least 872 people administratively detained since 7 October. 44 children are among the 149 Palestinians killed in this same period by Israeli occupation forces and extremist Jewish settlers in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and over 1,960 Palestinian civilians have been injured in Israeli raids on towns, villages and refugee camps, including on Jenin refugee camp.
The root causes and historical context of this current crisis cannot be ignored or undermined. For the past 75 years, Israel has only used force and the threat of force, persecution, collective punishment and reprisals, and apartheid to advance its land theft and colonization of Palestinian territory and deny the Palestinian people their fundamental rights. A core objective of these illegal policies and practices has been displacing and replacing the Palestinian people, in violation of their inalienable right to self-determination and other peremptory norms of international law. These policies and practices have continued unabated since the onset of the occupation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, particularly in the form of escalating illegal settlement expansion, mass imprisonment of Palestinians, Judaization measures in occupied Jerusalem, and the inhumane 16-year blockade on Gaza.
This current grave situation in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is the direct result of the failure of the international community to hold Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people, and its failure to implement the two-state solution or ensure the realization of the inalienable right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.
We reiterate our urgent call for the Australian Government to support an immediate ceasefire and the unimpeded provision of humanitarian access and assistance to Gaza. Furthermore, we urge Australia to condemn Israel’s illegal evacuation orders and forcible transfer of the civilian population in Gaza, and put pressure on the Israeli government to guarantee safe passage for repatriation of Australian nationals trapped in the Gaza Strip.
Mutual respect and harmony among all components of Australian society are essential and must be protected, particularly in these difficult times. Islamophobia and antisemitism are unacceptable and unjustifiable. It is our hope and expectation that the Australian Government will protect and ensure social cohesion through a responsive engagement strategy, the adoption of an even-handed policy towards the current situation in Gaza and the Israel-Palestine conflict broadly, and the implementation of international law.”
Recent activities responding to the Israeli aggression against Gaza and the Palestinian people.
KEY MEETINGS AND CONSULTATIONS
On 16 October, a delegation from the Council of Arab Ambassadors met with officials at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). The delegation delivered the official statement issued by the Ministerial Meeting of the League of Arab States, and strongly condemned the illegal Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and its disastrous humanitarian consequences.
Foreign Minister Penny Wong
On 19 October, the Council of Arab Ambassadors met with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong at Federal Parliament House in Canberra. After a briefing by the Palestinian Ambassador on the latest developments, the parties discussed the catastrophic repercussions of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, emphasizing the important necessity of working towards an immediate ceasefire and facilitating the provision of emergency humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people in Gaza. [Read More]
Council of Arab Ambassadors
Prior to meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong, the Council of Arab Ambassadors paid a solidarity visit to the Palestinian Embassy in Canberra.
OIC Heads of Missions
The Steering Committee of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) Group of Diplomatic Missions in Canberra have met for multiple sessions.A briefing by the Ambassador of the State of Palestine on the latest developments regarding the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip was followed by discussion and proposal of a plan for collective response to the emergency.
ACT Palestinian Community
The Palestinian Embassy has hosted two important meetings for representatives of the Palestinian community in Canberra to discuss the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip and strategies to support and stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people.
The Ambassador of the State of Palestine and Embassy Staff have also held regular consultative meetings with organizations and individual representatives of Palestinian, Islamic, Christian, and Arab communities across Australia regarding the latest developments and responses to the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people in Gaza. These discussions are important opportunities to understand communities’ concerns and suggestions for enhancing support and solidarity with the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
The Palestinian Embassy has continued to issue statements, position papers, and factsheets about the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip. The latest statement was in response to Australia’s abstention at the United Nations General Assembly (“Australia fails to stand with moral majority”) and the latest factsheet sent from the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates was distributed to members of Parliament in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, members of the international diplomatic corps, as well as media outlets, civil society organizations, and members of the Palestinian, Arab, Muslim, and Christian communities in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
For a full list of recently issued statements and other relevant documents, see Palestinian website.
DEMONSTRATIONS AND VIGILS
Massive demonstrations in support of the Palestinian people have been organized in all Australian states and territories, most notably in Sydney and Melbourne where the number of participants in each respectively has exceeded 50,000. The Ambassador of the State of Palestine and the Embassy Staff followed the protests and demonstrations that took place in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, and participated in several of them in Canberra, including vigils and demonstrations in front of Federal Parliament House.
- OIC Heads of Missions Group Plenary Meeting
- Meeting of Council of Arab Ambassadors
- Candlelight Vigil for Gaza hosted by Australian Arab Federation
- Edward Said Memorial Lecture hosted by AFOPA
- Fundraising Dinner hosted by Palestinian Christians in Australia (PCIA)
- Commemoration of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People at Federal Parliament House
- Meeting with MP’s at NSW Parliament