The Hon Kevin Rudd
Prime Minister of Australia
Parliament House, Canberra 2600
Dear Prime Minister,
I am writing to you about the situation in Gaza and the urgent need for the world community – including Australia – to require Israel to relieve the immediate humanitarian crisis.
It may be objected that Gazans are, in some way, to blame for their own appalling plight. That is false for several reasons.
First, such a claim betrays utter contempt for democracy. The Hamas leadership in Gaza won government through the ballot box, by a solid majority in elections widely acknowledged as free and fair. It ill-behooves ‘democratic nations’ such as Australia to reject the democratic choice of others..
Second, the root cause of continuing conflict in Palestine (including Gaza) is continuing occupation and control by the Zionist regime. There is a long-established principle that resistance to occupation is legitimate. Australia applauded the French Resistance during Word War Two – who opposed, often with violence, a less brutal and much more short-lived occupation. Why the double standard?
Third, the inequality of power relations between the Israel State and the Palestinian people is extreme. There is no question which people suffer more: the Palestinians. That disparity has been worsening for more than 60 years. Seven decades is an exceedingly long time to wait for justice and basic human rights.
I call on the Australian Government to embark on a full-scale, fundamental and open review of this country’s middle eastern policy.
Current (and longstanding) Australian policy has been to give largely uncritical support an increasingly violent and cruel APARTHEID-style state.
Lest you think I exaggerate by using the ‘A’ word, I will point out that Bishop Desmond Tutu has compared Israel to unfavourably apartheid South Africa, on more than one occasion. Other informed South African commentators has been even more forthright in stating that Israeli sectarianism is WORSE than the former apartheid system in southern Africa.
This Zionist bias in Australian foreign policy is, of course, to the detriment of the rights of Palestinians and others in the region.
This bias in favour of the aggressor (and against the principal victim) has become intolerable.
It is quite out-of-step with Australian public opinion, notwithstanding the endless torrent of pro-Zionist media spin foisted on our populace on a daily basis.
I therefore ask that the Government sponsors a Senate Inquiry to reconsider Australia’s middle eastern policy – with a view to bringing this policy into line with the norms of international law.
In the IMMEDIATE term – I appeal to you to put whatever pressure you can on the Israeli Government to desist from blockading Gaza – and allow humanitarian relief to flow freely and without delay into this beleaguered, unwilling ghetto.
In 2006 the Special UN envoy on human rights commented that “Israel has turned the Gaza Strip into a prison for Palestinians and have thrown away the key”.
Over the last two years, the situation has further deteriorated.
Gazans now face circumstances so dire that words fail to adequately describe their plight. Yet at this very moment, having re-imposed an overall blockade on Gaza, the Israeli government threatens yet more military action, compounding an already horrific humanitarian crisis.
How can our nation – supposedly informed by Christian values – sit back and watch this grotesque injustice proceed without protest?
Please act with great urgency to play your part in relieving the suffering of the people of Gaza (and Palestine as a whole),
-Syd Walker is an Australia-based activist. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Visit his blog: http://sydwalker.info/blog.