Contributed by Jim Hayes
The world has begun to react against the carnage in Gaza. As the death toll of Palestinians mounted, killed by the guns of the Israeli military, using bullets designed to cause the maximum damage to the flesh, the call to stop echoed around the world.
It led to last Friday’s special meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council, a vote to condemn Israel and for an independent investigation was carried overwhelmingly, only to be vetoed by the United States. True, other nations abstained over the wording of the resolution, wanting to focus on the investigation and not the condemnation of Israel. Even then, the count was 29 for and 14 abstentions.
Only one country, besides the United States voted against, opposing both the condemnation and move for an independent inquiry, and that was Australia.
That our Australian government should instruct its officials at the United Nations to act in this way is a disgrace. The Australian government has declared itself an accomplice to the killing in our name, and is seen to be backing Donald Trump’s assertion that it is the Palestinians themselves who are to blame. This is underlined by the insistence that Hamas must also be the target of any investigation.
Australia has officially accepted the Israeli government line, that it had to do what it did, to safeguard its borders. The implication is that it faced a foreign invasion. Never mind that this occurred within what Israel calls its borders. A group of people without guns, is not much of an invasion force. Much less so, when they did not come any closer to the Israeli built wall than a few hundred metres. And how do you categorise this as an invasion force, when many were shot in the back, by snipers taking careful aim, and often going for children?
From the Israeli side, it was at first claimed that Hamas fighters were using this for an armed incursion. If they were there, surely, they would have been the target of the bullets. There were no Hamas casualties or prisoners. Nor were there any Israeli casualties, except one soldier allegedly hit by a stone. When this line of argument was no longer sustainable, Hamas was blamed for inciting the population. This was not backed up by evidence either.
The tens of thousands of Palestinians protesting their right to return to their land did not need anyone to goad them on. They were there participating in events around the anniversary of the date on which they were dispossessed of their land. They have been doing this annually for 70 years.
It happens that this year, Israel and the United states, chose this as the timing to move the American embassy to Jerusalem. They knew that this would inflame passions and could only have occurred, to deliberately cause this effect.
Australia’s government knows all this and has decided to disregard it, opting to go all the way with the USA once again and live a lie in our name, no matter what. In this new act of blind obedience to a foreign power, Australia is revealed to the world as a vassal, and not as an independent nation, standing on its own two feet, on the side of fair play.
Instead, there is involvement in Game of Thrones style power play and being a willing instrument of empire building. Because this is exactly what the United States actions amount to.
It is the reason why there is no appetite for joining the call to take up the opportunity, to assist in building a process that will not only silence the guns, but to set the ground for a final resolution that will guarantee a home for Palestinians and Jews.
This would get in the way of manipulating the tensions to create a bridgehead, to guarantee an American foothold in the Middle East. Israel is militarily, economically and ultimately politically dependent on the United States, and does not have the means to stray too far from American policy.
Saying that Israel has become a client state, operating on its won version of Apartheid, and as a vehicle for the subjugation of other peoples, is not being anti-Semitic, but recognising what many Jews know themselves. This is the real security threat that Israel faces.
The Australian government’s position is attracting plenty of criticism at home.
For example, Oxfam’s chief executive, Dr Helen Szoke, agreed that Australia had an “unprecedented opportunity to progress human rights.”
“When Australia took up its seat on the council, it promised to act in a principled manner and uphold human rights.”
“Voting against a motion to launch an independent investigation into the killings in Gaza and to investigate all violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the context of civilian protests, flies in the face of Australia’s commitment.
“It represents a broken promise on Australia’s part and is immensely disappointing.”
The Human Rights Watch Australian director, Elaine Pearson, said the federal government’s opposition was “shameful”.
“This was a chance to put principle before politics and Australia blew it,” she said.
“This was not about targeting Israel but targeting human rights violations. When security forces opened fire on protesters who pose no imminent threat, they must be held to account.”
Israel is used as a bridgehead into regional politics and at this time, ambitions in Syria and Iran. De facto backing of the slaughter in Gaza is not only about the Palestinians. It is a chess move designed to heighten tensions and prepare the ground for further military intervention.
In the shadow of Gaza, the Israeli air force has stepped up incursions into Syria, backing fundamentalist terror groups. War with Iran is being promoted. The aim to provide an opening for greater American intervention. For the Israeli government, this is a means towards its own expended borders.
If the strategy succeeds, Australia will be drawn into more wars. The Australian government might want this. But this does not mean that the Australian people do.
Marches in support of the Palestinians and for an end to the killings, have taken place around Australia.