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Australia’s best support would be cutting all ties with Israel govt

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19 December 2023, Canberra Times, by Nasser Mashni

For 73 days, thousands upon thousands of people across this continent have screamed with one voice, demanding the Australian government support international calls for an end to Israeli government atrocities and for a ceasefire.

Our voices have been matched by a chorus of millions across the globe, a people united behind a collective belief in human rights, justice, equality and self-determination for the indigenous people of Palestine.

As loud as our voices have been, they’ve been drowned out by bombs dropped by a revenge-seeking Netanyahu-led Israel and by the shrieks of terror and the desperate prayers of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.

These prayers, pledges of love and goodbyes have pinged via digital messaging services to Palestinians all over the world, and we have watched an Israeli government campaign of violence, terror and destruction play out, broadcast live to us on screens that fit in the palms of our hands.

The most far-right government in Israel’s history has crushed homes, decimated neighbourhoods, displaced or pulverised families, hellbent on continuing its 75-year project of eradicating the Palestinian people from their homeland and completing its settler-colonial mission.

After nine weeks of screaming, we finally saw our government shift its position on last Wednesday.

Our ceasefire vote in the UN General Assembly – as non-binding as it was – was testament to the commitment of everyday people to do everything in their power to protect the sanctity of life.

While the Prime Minister’s support for a ceasefire was welcome after so much bloodshed and horror, the truth of it is plain to see – a humane government that prized the universal and unbiased application of international law would have shifted 72 days ago.

The shift has been fatally slow, coming at a cost of more than 18,000 Palestinian lives, and at the end of 73 days of government wavering and shrugging, as it weighed up which types of people deserved to share in our humanity.

Even in its call for a ceasefire, our government couldn’t help but riff on its nine-week-long declaration of Australia’s support for the Israeli government. As it did so, we were reminded once again that Palestinian deaths are acceptable, necessary even, to maintain the Australian government’s morbid “friendship” with a violent, settler-colonial regime.

And so, while I welcomed news that our nation had finally joined the majority of the world in calling for a ceasefire, I echo the demands of the Palestinian community and its supporters for it to do more.

I demand the Australian government end its complicity with the Israeli government, cut all military ties completely, and immediately cease its sales of weaponry and components to Israel.

I assure the Australian government that it will continue to hear the voices of this community, raised in anger and urgency, until it demands an end to Israel’s siege on Gaza, its occupation of the West Bank, arbitrary detention of political prisoners – including women and children – and its system of apartheid.

I demand Australian government action to see all Palestinian political prisoners released, and Palestinian refugees given the right to return to their homeland.

It’s not lost on me that the US government and its ally, Israel, stand between this moment and the realisation of a ceasefire, an end to Israeli occupation and apartheid in Palestine. And this is where the Australian government must focus not only its words, but its actions.

Australia must take the same swift, strong action that we saw when Russia attacked Ukraine, imposing sanctions on Israeli government, media and military figures.

We must be ready to cut our political and economic ties with Israel if it fails to commit to a political resolution that guarantees justice, equality and self-determination for the Palestinian people.

Our voices are hoarse after nine weeks of screaming; our hearts breaking at the needless loss of precious human lives, but we will repeat our demands, loudly, decisively until they are met.

We must, because our collective voice is the greatest tool our democracy gives us to defend the most vulnerable. And more than that, we must hold fast to our demands because they are also our greatest defence of who we all are.

Or at least, who we all should be.

Nasser Mashni is president of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network.

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Article source: Canberra Times | Nasser Mashni | December 19, 2023

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000