20 December 2023
The Australian Jewish Democratic Society endorses the statement by Australian politicians on December 19 2023, which in part says Australia should be “positively contributing to the resolution of this intolerable and dangerous situation that threatens the people of Israel and Palestine and the entire international community”.
As Australian Jews we will not defend Israel’s military campaign that has resulted in so many civilian deaths. Loss of support for Israel is entirely of its own making.
On this basis we are compelled to support those who call for an immediate ceasefire, the release of all hostages and an international process to address the underlying issues of the conflict.
We express solidarity with Israelis, Palestinians and all others who are prepared to work together to find a way forward out of this traumatic and tragic situation.
Australia should take an assertive role in its discussions with Israel and concerned Palestinian parties, as well as in the UN. This includes playing a key role in the establishment of an International Peacemaking Intervention and Commission under the UN.
The Statement below has been signed by more than 200 current and past members of Federal, state and local government from Labor, the Coalition, and the Greens.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. While Gaza was cleared of illegal Israeli settlements in 2005, the ongoing blockade clearly constitutes an occupation under applicable international law standards.
6. 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.
7. These events and policies have involved the destruction of Palestinian society and the denial of the legitimate national aspirations of the Palestinian people.
8. 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”.
9. We note Australia is a state party to the International Criminal Court and bound by its statute which makes criminal the gravest international crimes.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. We call on the Australian Government to recognise Palestine as a state that is entitled to be free of occupation.
13. 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.
14. 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.