The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) is disappointed with the obvious bias that six of the seven former Australian Prime Ministers showed in their statement yesterday. This statement provides no value to the local community other than to demonstrate the influence and desperation of the Zionist Lobby in Australia.
In an astonishing show of collective amnesia, they have ignored the 17 years of illegal occupation and the clear and continuous human rights violations that preceded the October 7 attacks.
It is partly due to their collective silence that this ghastly scenario plays out today. Our past Prime Ministers could have played a more constructive role while they held power, furthering peace. It was on their watch that the illegal occupation, illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, and continued violation of human rights took place.
Further, it was on their watch that Australia was led into disastrous conflicts in two wars in Iraq and a war in Afghanistan, which has led to the deaths of tens of thousands of lives. Rather than seeking peace, they embraced war. Tens of thousands of Australians have protested and called for a ceasefire, and this tone-deaf message sits in stark contrast.
History and facts have been conveniently forgotten. Had the former Prime Ministers acknowledged history, their statement might have resonated with Palestinian communities that are in deep pain and hurting, as well as with other Australians who have a conscience.
They are out of touch with the thousands of Australians who have called for a ceasefire, while some 8,000 Gazans lie dead. How this helps local community harmony or the cause for a ceasefire is unknown.
We call on the Australian Government to call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
We call for all hostages to be released and for all Palestinians held without charge in Israeli jails to be freed.
We call on the Australian Government to ensure that aid is delivered to Gaza and to all those in need.
We call on the Australian Government to send international observers to the area.
AFIC, established in 1964, serves as the peak body for Australian Muslim Organisations.
Dr Rateb Jneid President