As of today 203 current and former Australian Members of Parliament and Councillors from across the political spectrum have signed a statement in support of an immediate, permanent ceasefire, the recognition of Palestine as a state, the end of the Israeli occupation and a reassessment of Australia's relationship with Israel.
Signatories to the statement include current federal, state and local MPs, 19 NSW MP's, as well as many local councillors. Included in the list are two former Foreign Ministers, Gareth Evans and Bob Carr; all current and former leaders of the Australian Greens from Bob Brown to Adam Bandt and Mehreen Faruqi; former Labor Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe; and former Liberal Minister for Immigration Ian Macphee. Link to full list of signatories.
The statement was drafted by a cross-party group of MPs in the NSW Parliament, and the call for current and former Australian elected representatives to sign on was launched on 6 December 2023 by Jenny Leong MP, Greens Member for Newtown, and Anthony D’Adam, Labor Member of the Legislative Council. Last Sunday on 10 December, International Human Rights Day, Jenny and Anthony marched together at the front of the Sydney rally.
APAN assisted with sending the statement on to elected members of parliament.
Since this time, thousands of individuals have tagged, called and messaged their local, state and federal MPs urging them to sign on - boosting the public pressure on the Australian Government to significantly change policy on Palestine/Israel.
On 12 December 2023 the Australian Government supported the UN General Assembly Resolution, changing from an abstention on the previous resolution.
Initiators of the statement, Jenny Leong MP and Anthony D’Adam MLC, said:
“The horrifying situation unfolding in Gaza requires us to all do whatever we can - big or small to address the situation - we all have an obligation to uphold and respect human rights as well as international law.”
“In initiating this statement and inviting local, state and federal elected representatives to sign on in support, we have added our hundreds of voices to all of those mobilising in communities here and around the world for an immediate, permanent ceasefire and a just and lasting peace.”
“We welcome Australia joining the vast majority of the world this week in supporting the resolution at the United Nations General Assembly demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, and urge the Australian Government to heed all of the calls in the statement.”
“This cross-party statement, supported by elected representatives of all political stripes and from across the country, highlights that there is widespread feeling in our community that the horrific escalation of the situation in Palestine cannot be disconnected from the systematic and long-term oppression which numerous respected Human Rights organisations have condemned.”
“To ensure cohesion and respect in our own communities, we need to recognise that human rights must be respected, to achieve lasting peace in the region we must ensure all parties comply with international law, and are held to account.”
The Statement by Current and Former Australian Elected Representatives on the Situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories
As current and former Australian elected representatives from all levels of government, we make the following statement in support of an immediate, permanent ceasefire and a just and lasting peace:
All states have an obligation to contribute to upholding international law, including human rights, international humanitarian law and the other universally accepted norms of the international legal system.
For too long the human rights of the Palestinian people have been grossly violated, in the context of broader circumstances that also breach international law and pose a grave threat to international peace and security.
These violations began in 1948 with the violent displacement of some 700,000 Palestinian people from their homeland. These people, and hundreds of thousands more displaced since, have all been denied a right of return.
The occupation by Israel of the West Bank and Gaza, ongoing since 1967, continues to involve military occupation, illegal settlement expansion, land theft, violence, discrimination, restrictions on movement and the subjugation of the Palestinian people. The situation is intolerable and to the shame of the international community.
While Gaza was cleared of illegal Israeli settlements in 2005, the ongoing blockade clearly constitutes an occupation under applicable international law standards.
It is beyond dispute that Israel is committed to policies designed to entrench the domination of one people over another in the territories of Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Attempts to deny this, or smear those who allege it, are an attempt to defy truth and reality.
These events and policies have involved the destruction of Palestinian society and the denial of the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
On 3 March 2021 the International Criminal Court announced it had opened an investigation into Israel and certain Palestinian armed groups. The Chief Prosecutor of the Court has announced it, “encompasses conduct that may amount to Rome Statute crimes committed since 13 June 2014 in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.
We note Australia is a state party to the International Criminal Court and bound by its statute which makes criminal the gravest international crimes.
The deliberate or reckless killing of innocent civilians is never defensible, whatever the context, and both the horrific acts of Hamas on 7 October and the horrendous scale of the civilian death toll caused by the Israeli military response will properly form part of that investigation.
We call on the Australian Government to publicly advocate for an immediate permanent ceasefire, to continue to call for the release of all hostages and urge that all parties fully comply with international standards.
We call on the Australian Government to recognise Palestine as a state that is entitled to be free of occupation.
We call on the Australian Government to examine its relationship with Israel, with a focus on positively contributing to the resolution of this intolerable and dangerous situation that threatens the people of Israel and Palestine and the entire international community.
We stand with Palestine, the Palestinian people, including Palestinian Australians and with all others who support truth and justice, including the many Jewish people protesting Israeli violence against Palestinians.
Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) works for Australian policy that supports Palestinian human rights, justice, and equality.
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