Australia must cut all military ties and place sanctions on Israel
April 2, 2024

The Jewish Council of Australia calls on state and federal governments in Australia to immediately cut all military ties and place sanctions on Israel amid the escalating violence in Gaza. On 28 March, the International Court of Justice ordered additional provisional measures in the case brought by South Africa against Israel for violating the Genocide Convention. Three days earlier, the UN Security Council voted for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

In light of these developments, and the worsening conditions imposed on Palestinians in Gaza, in particular the spread of starvation due to Israel’s blockade of aid, we urge the Australian Government to do everything in its power to stop Israel committing the crime of genocide. The Australian Government should be using all available forms of diplomatic pressure, including sanctions and travel bans on extremist settlers and those suspected of war crimes . Today’s tragic news that an Australian aid worker has been killed by an Israeli air strike deepens the need for a stronger response from our government.

The ICJ has ordered Israel to “[t]ake all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay” the “unhindered provision at scale” of basic services and humanitarian aid—including food, water, electricity, fuel, shelter, clothing, hygiene and sanitation products, and medical supplies and care to the people of Gaza.

This order has legal implications for Australia, which must comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention by taking all reasonable measures to ensure Israel allows aid into Gaza and to achieve an immediate ceasefire.

Sarah Schwartz, human rights lawyer and Executive Officer of the Jewish Council of Australia

The ICJ’s additional provisional orders are a clear sign that the situation in Gaza has drastically deteriorated. Palestinians face death by Israeli assassinations, bombardment, and now, forced famine. The images emerging today of Israel’s total destruction of Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital, together with the news that Israel has killed an Australian aid worker, ought to force governments like ours to take concrete action. The world cannot stand idly by in the face of such horrific cruelty.

Australia must heed the additional provisional measures ordered by the ICJ and do everything in its power to prevent Israel committing the international crime of genocide by killing, mass starvation and disease, including imposing sanctions and cutting military ties. In particular, Australia must end its role in supplying weapons parts to Israel, and throw its weight behind a global arms embargo.  

Dr Max Kaiser, historian and Executive Officer of the Jewish Council of Australia

With each passing day, it becomes clearer that Israel is a rogue state. We say this as part of a large and growing number of Jews – in Australia and around the world – who have been calling for a ceasefire for many months, and saying that Israel’s actions are completely incompatible with our Jewish values. Opposing this genocide is an expression of our Jewishness and an honouring of our ancestors who were themselves the victims of genocide and racist violence.

It is clear that Israel will not listen to the international community until there are consequences for its actions. The Australian Government has all the tools necessary at its disposal, including sanctions and travel bans on suspected war criminals, which it has deployed against Russia. All that is missing is the political will.

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