Israel set to launch murderous assault on Rafah as Albanese sits by

With more than 30,000 dead and much of Gaza reduced to rubble Israel’s genocidal assault shows no sign of relenting. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected another ceasefire offer from Hamas, demanding “total victory”.

And Israel is now bombing Rafah, where half of Gaza’s population, some 1.4 million people, are crowded into a town that held just 270,000 before Israel’s attack.

Palestinians were told Rafah would be safe as they fled the death and destruction elsewhere. Asaad Hassan, a Palestinian displaced from Gaza City to Rafah told Al Jazeera, “We have nowhere else to go but to the grave.”

Rain and flooding have overwhelmed thousands of makeshift tents. People are dying from the cold, hunger and disease.

Plans for the Israeli army to storm Rafah will “exponentially increase what is already a humanitarian nightmare” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

Israeli snipers have shot dead dozens of civilians trying to get to hospitals in Khan Younis and Rafah.

Humanitarian aid has been deliberately withheld. One in ten children are acutely malnourished. At least 300,000 people still in the north of Gaza are on the verge of famine.

Israel was humiliated when the International Court of Justice ordered it to “take all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide. The preliminary judgement found it was plausible a genocide was taking place, refusing to throw out the case as Israel demanded.

It specifically called on Israel to “take immediate and effective measures” to provide “urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”.

Instead, the day the ICJ handed down its ruling it declared, without evidence, that UNRWA staff were involved in the 7 October attack, demanding its allies withhold aid funding to the largest humanitarian organisation in Gaza.

Anthony Albanese has now released a statement saying he is “gravely concerned” about the prospect of an Israeli military operation in Rafah and calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”. But he is still defending Israel by saying a “sustainable ceasefire” relies on a Hamas surrender.

Albanese says that “Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian assistance”.

Yet the Australian government leapt at the chance to freeze aid funding to the UNRWA—withholding $6 million in funds.

The speed of the Australian government’s actions, without waiting even for the most basic evidence, exposed the Labor government’s support for Israel. It still refuses to reverse the freeze on funding.

It continues to back the US and UK bombing against the Houthis in Yemen in retaliation for blocking Israel ships.

The US’s airstrikes on 85 separate sites in Syria and Iraq also show the danger of the war spreading further across the region.

Break Australian support

The Labor government is deeply tied to the US alliance, pledging $368 billion for the AUKUS nuclear submarines and well as billions more for its military build-up against China.

Australia supports the US and Israel as part of the Western alliance. Fighting to break our government from support for the horror unfolding in Gaza will build the pressure on Israel to end it.

Tens of thousands have rallied for Gaza every week since Israel’s murderous onslaught began.

But it will take much more to force Australia to end its support for Israel’s genocide. The media, schools, universities, and all the major institutions of society are implicated in backing the war.

Teachers have been disciplined simply for wearing pro-Palestine badges and journalists critical of the appalling media coverage have been sacked.

We need to deepen support for Palestine across society by exposing the media’s lies and pro-Israel bias. Rank-and-file union groups for Palestine can play a key role taking the arguments into workplaces.

And we need action that goes beyond street marches to disrupt business as usual.

The recent blockades of ZIM shipping at ports in Melbourne and Fremantle and protests at arms manufacturer Ferra in Brisbane have raised the need for sanctions and union bans on companies implicated in the genocide.

We need to break Australia’s arms shipments and economic ties with Israel.

Students will join a nationwide strike on 29 February as universities resume. Class walkouts can build towards wider campus action targeting links between Australian universities and Israel.

Student walkouts can also pose the need for workers’ strike action—just as unions did during anti-Vietnam War movement.

We need to go all out to force Albanese and the Australian government to stop supporting the slaughter.


Solidarity meetings

Latest articles

Read more

Albanese keeps backing Israel even as aid workers murdered

After six months of slaughter, Israel’s atrocities in Gaza are becoming more and more obscene.

Australia’s defence industry is arming Israel’s genocide

Recent months have seen an increasing number of protests directed at the arms industry in Australia and its role in Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

Pine Gap aiding Israel’s war

Spy base Pine Gap is almost certainly playing a key role feeding intelligence to Israel for use against Gaza.