2 February 2024
Canberra ACT 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
We are deeply disturbed by your government’s decision to suspend aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Gaza after allegations about 12 of its 13,000 workers.
This decision amounts to “collective punishment” of already grossly deprived Palestinians and cannot be justified.
We are most concerned that the Australian Government continues to rate diplomatic friendship. ahead of its humanitarian obligations under the Genocide Convention.
The International Court of Justice has provided an interim ruling that the Government of Israel must act to prevent genocide with the court specifically identifying humanitarian support – “Enable and facilitate the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza” as one of the measures the Government of Israel must report back to the court by 27 February.
Yet the Australian Government soon after announced its suspension of aid to Gaza. It would appear your government is more concerned about its relationships with Israel, the United States and other so called “like minded “countries than our nation’s traditional humanitarian values.
We understand the pressures in international diplomacy, but Australia, like New Zealand, Ireland and Finland, must assert its independence and rely on our long-term commitment to international law.
Please urgently restore aid to UNRWA and act to influence our allies who also have obligations under the Genocide Convention. A suspension of military aid to Israel is recommended as a basic start to mediating an end to this war.
WILPF is a non-government organisation committed to disarmament, the peaceful resolution of conflict, economic and social justice, and environmental sustainability.
Actions for like-minded individuals and organisations:
NOT IN MY NAME
WILPF Australia urges organisations and individuals to disassociate themselves from the Australian Government’s support of the Israeli government which has allowed:
- 27,000 Palestinians killed, two thirds of whom are women and children.
- 60,000 injured and unable to access medical care.
- All members of more than 600 families killed.
- 1000 children forced to have amputation without anaesthesia.
- 600 doctors and health workers killed.
- 152 UNRWA workers killed.
- 100+ journalists killed.
- 50,000 housing units destroyed.
- 2,300 homes damaged.
- 29 hospitals damaged destroyed or closed.
- 70% of schools damaged or destroyed.
- 200 places of worship destroyed or damaged.
- 200 cultural sites destroyed or damaged.
(Statistics publicly reported by international aid organisations and the United Nations, up to February 2024)
The Australian Government is ignoring these devastating statistics which show the ongoing revenge attacks on innocent Palestinians.
The International Court of Justice has issued a warning to the Government of Israel that its ongoing attacks and withdrawal of basic humanitarian services are in breach of the United Nations Genocide Convention.
The Australian Government has failed:
- to act to prevent this collective punishment of Palestinian civilians.
- to advocate for mediation for the release of Israeli hostages and the use of international law to punish Hamas for its attack and for independently verified war crimes, including sexual and gender-based violence, on 7 October 2023.
- to prevent Israel’s war of revenge, which harms the innocent and most vulnerable and will never resolve the conflict.
- to demand the United States withdraw all military aid to the Israeli Defence Force until peace negotiations are finalised.
- to stop the supply of weapons and weapon components from Australia to the Israeli government.
Further, the Australian Government has withheld essential aid from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA),
The Australian Government does not act in our name.