Sunday 26 March 2023

Australian Greens urge arms embargo against Israel following Amnesty International report

Palestinian advocates in Australia have called on the federal government not to ignore an international report accusing Israel of committing apartheid and have expressed deep disappointment with the Prime Minister's comments that no country is perfect.

In a comprehensive report released this week, human rights group Amnesty International said Israel "enforces a system of oppression and domination" against all Palestinians and argued "cruel" policies enforced by the Israeli government amounted to apartheid under international law.

When asked about the matter on Wednesday, Australia PM Scott Morrison dismissed the report and reaffirmed Australia's support for Israel.


"Australia has been one of the closest and strongest friends of Israel, of any nation in the world other than the United States, and we continue to be a very strong friend of Israel," Mr Morrison told reporters in Sydney.


"No country is perfect and there are criticisms made of all countries, but I can assure you that Australia and my government, in particular, will remain a staunch friend of Israel."


The report calls on governments, particularly those with close ties to Israel, to use political and diplomatic tools to "bring an end to this unlawful situation".


Vice-president of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network, Nasser Mashni, said the Australian government had a record of shielding Israel from accountability.


"We know not all countries are perfect, but not all countries commit crimes against humanity," Mr Mashni said.


Mr Mashni said Australia should heed the report's recommendations and immediately impose an arms embargo on Israel, recall our ambassador and implement sanctions.


"We should be calling it out for the rogue regime that it is," he said.


Greens foreign affairs spokesperson Janet Rice criticised Mr Morrison's comments as "feeble and absurd" and said she would be writing to Foreign Minister Marise Payne to "urge a response to Amnesty's powerful report".


"The Australian Government should start by recognising Palestine," Senator Rice said.


"The Australian Greens have called for a suspension of military trade with governments that are credibly alleged to have committed human rights violations, including Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines and Saudi Arabia as well as Israel.


"If we refuse to call out human rights abuses of allied countries, we have no standing in calling them out anywhere."

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