Australian Greens call on Labor to finally condemn State of Israel and Hamas’ war crimes in parliament

Australian Greens

The Australian Greens have lashed Labor for their refusal to condemn the war crimes committed by the State of Israel and Hamas, after the government blocked a Greens attempt to include condemnation of the actions of the IDF in criticism of October 7.

Labor and the Liberals voted against condemning Israel’s war crimes on October 16, asserting that Parliament ‘stands with Israel’ and asserting that it had a right to defend itself, despite reports of Israeli war crimes in the initial 9 days of the conflict. Since then, Labor has voted against reconsidering this position six times.

The report released by the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel yesterday is clear. Both Hamas and the State of Israel’s military forces have committed war crimes in the fighting on and since October 7th.

The Commission further concluded that the immense numbers of civilian casualties and widespread destruction of civilian objects and vital civilian infrastructure were the “inevitable results of Israel’s chosen strategy for the use of force” during these hostilities, undertaken with intent to cause maximum damage, disregarding distinction, proportionality and adequate precautions, and thus unlawful.

Since their refusal to condemn Israel’s war crimes, the Government was given six opportunities in early 2024 by the Greens to support a motion to reverse their “stand[ing] with Israel”, call for an immediate and permanent ceasefire and end their support for the invasion. Each time they voted against the motion being brought on for consideration.

As stated by Senator Jordon Steele-John, Greens Spokesperson for Peace and Foreign Affairs:

“War crimes must be called out wherever and whenever they occur. Labor’s refusal to condemn Israel as well as Hamas’ is a damning indictment of their willingness to turn a blind eye to the IDF’s actions since October 7,” Senator Steele-John said.

“The United Nations Commission’s report makes clear that both Hamas and the State of Israel have committed heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Labor had the opportunity in Parliament to vote to condemn Israel’s war crimes, and they voted against it. Since then, Labor has joined with the Liberals to block every attempt to push them to reconsider their stance.

“Simply repeating that Israel has a “right to defend itself” whitewashes the horrific destruction inflicted by Israel on Gaza, Rafah, and the Palestinian people – each of which has been devastatingly catalogued by the UN. No one has the right to commit war crimes, and Labor must call them out.

“Our government can not pick and choose when to respect International law. Our nation must respond to the State of Israel’s crimes in the same way we have rightfully responded to those committed by Hamas.

“It’s time for Labor to end the two-way arms trade that is fueling this genocide, sanction Prime Minister Netanyahu and his war cabinet and expel Israel’s ambassador to Australia until the State of Israel is compliant with the orders of the ICJ and International Law.

“We must always remember that peace is the goal and a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis has been made so much harder to achieve through the actions of the State of Israel and Hamas.”

The amendment blocked by Labor on October 16, added to a motion condemning attacks on Israel:

Mr Bandt moved, as an amendment-Omit paragraph (2), substitute:

(2) condemns war crimes perpetrated by the state of Israel, including the bombing of Palestinian civilians, and calls for an immediate ceasefire between all parties and an end to the war on Gaza, recognising also that for there to be peace there must be an end to the state of Israel’s illegal occupation of the Palestinian Territories;”

The motion subsequently opposed by Labor six times:

That the House:

(1) notes that since the House resolution of 16 October 2023 concerning Israel and Gaza, which supported the State of Israel’s looming invasion of Gaza by stating that the House ‘stands with Israel’, the following have occurred:

(a) an appalling and increasing toll of deaths and injuries caused by the State of Israel’s bombing and invasion of Gaza;

(b) a growing humanitarian catastrophe caused by the State of Israel’s blockade, bombing and invasion of Gaza; and

(c) the State of Israel is the subject of recent International Court of Justice orders in South

Africa’s case regarding the prevention of genocide;

(2) therefore does not support the State of Israel’s continued invasion of Gaza and calls for an immediate and permanent ceasefire; and

(3) calls on the Australian Government to end its support for the State of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

/Public Release. View in full here.