Senator Wong’s speech a good step but more must be done to halt Israel’s assault on Gaza
April 10, 2024

The Jewish Council of Australia today welcomed Australia’s foreign affairs minister, Senator Penny Wong’s speech overnight which signaled a shift in the Australian Government’s otherwise steadfast support for Israel and its actions.

Along with voicing frustration at the lack of progress on peace, Senator Wong urged Israel to comply with the binding orders of the International Court of Justice, including to enable the provision of basic services and humanitarian assistance at scale.

In light of the worsening conditions imposed on Palestinians in Gaza, in particular the spread of starvation due to Israel’s blockade of aid, the Council urges 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.

Dr Max Kaiser, Executive Officer of Jewish Council of Australia:

“Senator Wong's speech is a good step but actions speak louder than words. Australia must place sanctions on Israel and terminate all military ties to avoid complicity in genocide. There are growing calls from Jewish community groups to place maximum pressure on Israel to end this assault. We see weekly Jewish rallies for a ceasefire, and groups like the Jewish Independent website and Jewish Greens in recent days joining  calls to end the violence.” 

Sarah Schwartz, Executive Officer, Jewish Council of Australia:

“We welcome Senator Wong’s recognition that Israel has been blocking any pathway to peace in the region. Israel’s genocidal war in Gaza is antithetical to peace and makes Palestinians and Israelis less safe. This is why Australia must do everything in its power to prevent Israel committing genocide. Any solution must ensure equality, freedom, justice and human rights for Palestinians and Israelis.”

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