Albanese an accessory to murder as Israel bombs and starves Gaza

After five months and well over 31,000 dead, there is no end in sight to Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.

Israel refused Hamas’s demands for a permanent ceasefire and complete withdrawal from the Gaza strip.

Even in the face of an international outcry about the catastrophic consequences, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to press ahead with an assault on Rafah.

Up to 1.5 million Palestinians—over half the population of Gaza—are crowded against the Egyptian border.

Israel is systematically starving Gaza by refusing to let aid in.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese put his name to a statement declaring he was “gravely concerned” about the human cost of an assault of Rafah.

He has tried to give the impression he supports a ceasefire, but he is only supporting another temporary “humanitarian pause” in fighting.

Albanese continues to support Israel’s position by saying a “sustainable ceasefire” requires a Hamas surrender. This amounts to giving the green light to Israel’s ongoing war against Gaza.

Albanese is in lockstep with US President Joe Biden, who has voiced concern over the lack of humanitarian aid while continuing to arm Israel and support its aim of wiping out Hamas.

Biden has declared an assault on Rafah a “red line” Israel should not cross until it evacuates civilians from the area.

The US has resorted to useless airdrops of aid into Gaza, and says it will also construct a temporary pier.

Yet the US has made over 100 arms sales to Israel since it began its attack on Gaza using a loophole to avoid Congressional restrictions, as well as three publicly-disclosed sales totalling almost $600 million.

Albanese’s complicity

Albanese is also deeply complicit in Israel’s assault. He has become the first world leader referred to the International Criminal Court for prosecution as an accessory to the genocide.

Over 100 lawyers and retired judges have urged the court to open an investigation.

Albanese is helping starve Gaza by freezing $6 million in funding to the UNRWA.

Despite other countries such as Canada and Sweden resuming funding, Foreign Minister Penny Wong has refused to restore funding until an investigation into Israel’s claim that UNRWA employs Hamas operatives is complete. But Israel has presented no evidence at all to support its claims.

The Australian government is willing to let Gazans die.

The government has also approved $13 million in exports of arms and ammunition to Israel over the past five years.

Last month the Albanese government awarded a $917 million contract to the Israeli military company, Elbit, to produce “advanced protection, fighting capabilities and sensors” for Infantry Fighting Vehicles for the Australian army.

Escalate the presure

Tens of thousands continue to join demonstrations for Palestine. We need to continue to demonstrate, but there are two key ways to build the campaign beyond the weekend protests.

The arguments to support Palestine need to be carried much deeper into the suburbs, workplaces and university campuses.

Nationwide student protests on 29 February saw hundreds march and rally, but much more campaigning and argument on campuses is needed to mobilise bigger numbers.

The appalling pro-Israel bias of the media, the crackdown against displays of support for Palestine and Albanese’s pretence of supporting a ceasefire have left many people confused.

New polling shows 37 per cent of the population think Israel should permanently withdraw its military from Gaza, but another 20 per cent support only a temporary ceasefire and 24 per cent aren’t sure.

Many of the worst Israeli outrages are barely covered in the Australian media—from the finding there is a “plausible” case of genocide against Israel at the International Court of Justice to the way its lies about the flour massacre have unravelled.

Union groups such as Teachers for Palestine have shown how to take actions at work that help spread the arguments for Palestine into the workplace. Another day of workplace actions is planned for 21 March.

We also need to push for actions that target military and economic links with Israel.

This can raise the political stakes and pose the need for sanctions on Israel, and for industrial action like that against apartheid South Africa.

This includes protests and blockades at Israeli companies like Zim shipping and Ferra in Brisbane, as well as the weapons manufacturing and military ties on university campuses.

The growing disgust and anger at Israel’s genocidal actions needs to be directed at Albanese and breaking ties with Israel and US imperialism.

We need an outward looking movement—in our unions, university campuses, workplaces and on the streets—to free Palestine, from the river to the sea.


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