“The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.
If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.
Violence begets violence and hatred; that only begets more violence and hatred. We South Africans know about violence and hatred. We understand the pain of being the polecat of the world when it seems that nobody understands or is even willing to listen to our perspective. It is where we come from.”The Late Archbishop Desmond Tutu, August 2019
The Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC) and its over 155 members have called on the Australian Government to ensure the rule of law prevails, advocating for international observers to be sent to Gaza to uncover the ground realities. Australia, as a responsible member of the global community, must act immediately to halt the bloodshed.
As echoes of violence and hatred reverberate across time. Having endured their struggles, South Africans empathise with the pain of being misunderstood and unheard on the global stage, as eloquently expressed by the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 2019. The sentiment was underscored by the late President Nelson Mandela, who 1997 emphasised that true freedom could not be achieved until the Palestinians were free.
Survivors of heinous atrocities, human rights abuses, and apartheid, recognising the gravity of the situation, have decried the ongoing atrocities against the Palestinian people, particularly in Gaza. The international community must acknowledge the urgency of the matter and, as South Africa has dared proclaim, Enough is Enough.
It is imperative to realise that Israel’s current actions are not isolated incidents but part of a consistent pattern aimed at the destruction of the resilient Palestinian population.
Referring Israel to the International Criminal Court for Genocide is an essential step to bring the facts to light and expose the truth on a global stage.
Many reports and complaints can be cited, but the apparent deliberate actions of silencing the truth must be highlighted. The killing of journalists and their families in Gaza has been sickening. Around 60 journalists have been killed in Gaza since 7 October 2023. Not a first, there have been numerous complaints filed by Reporters Without Borders since 2018. Israel has evaded accountability, exploiting technicalities, declaring Palestine is not a state and cannot bring the complaint to bear. Targeting journalists is a war crime under Article 8 of the Rome Statute.
Additionally, the international community must not turn a blind eye to the explicit intentions declared by Israeli officials, who openly articulate their focus on obliterating Gaza at any cost, as evidenced by statements from Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. “This will be a long, tough war. It has costs, heavy costs, but its justification is the highest that can be” (as reported by Jamie Dettmer POLITICO, 29/12/2023). The costs appear to be the genocide of Palestinians and justification for ethnic cleansing. The same article cites numerous sources from nearly all spectrums that there is no will in Israel for a two-state solution and no equality for Palestinians.
On 4 January 2024, in an interview with the British Journalist Iain Dale on LBC Radio, the Israeli Ambassador Tzipi Hotovely to the UK claimed, ‘Palestinian children are taught that they can kill Jews… One of the things we realize is that every school, every mosque, every second house has access to these tunnels.’
‘The world has yet to see this evidence, and there are more than 22,000 dead and more than 10,000 missing.’ Said Dr Rateb Jneid, President of AFIC, ‘It is impossible to see how the blood of so many people, innocent children, will ever lead to peace. How many more lives will it take to satiate the blood lust of Netanyahu? How many more lives will it take for the world powers to take action.’ He concluded.
On 7 January 2024, amidst the bloodshed, the Israeli Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahyu said on Israeli Radio 103FM (as reported in the Middle East Monitor) that Israel “must find ways for Gazans that are more painful than death.”
It is hard to find any redeeming position from the Israelis in this war; the words lead us with no ambiguity as to Isreal’s intentions. Why does the world not hold them to the same accountability as the rest of the world?
The world must hold Israel accountable for its actions, given its possession of one of the world’s most powerful armies, built on international support. The Global community’s inaction has cost countless lives and misery and ignored the desperate pleas from humanitarian agencies such as Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children, Oxfam, and the United Nations.
With our members, we call on the Australian Government to ensure the rule of law prevails. As a responsible member of the global community, we must act immediately to halt the bloodshed.
‘Australia has a moral obligation to prevent genocide; it has a moral obligation to align itself with the actions of the South African Government, to bring out the truth of what is happening in Gaza and to prioritise law over war.’ Dr Rateb Jneid, President of AFIC stated.
AFIC and its members continue to call on the release of all hostages and those held without charge in Israeli jails.
All segments of Australian society must hold Israeli politicians accountable for their words and actions. The time for decisive international action and Australian leadership is now, as we stand united against injustice, violence, and the violation of human rights in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Dr Rateb Jneid, President