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Statement regarding Australia/Canada/New Zealand joint statement and UN vote on the Israel/Hamas conflict

Dec 14, 2023 | Colin Rubenstein

Palestinian supporters of the Ezz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in a military parade in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip (Image: Shutterstock)
Palestinian supporters of the Ezz-Al Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, in a military parade in Khan Yunis, in the southern Gaza Strip (Image: Shutterstock)

“AIJAC supports effective steps towards a ceasefire which is genuinely sustainable, meaning it achieves all the goals laid out in the otherwise somewhat confusing and contradictory statement released by Australia, Canada and New Zealand overnight – release of all hostages, the end of the use of Gaza civilians as human shields, and Hamas being disarmed. However, it should be obvious that the only way to achieve any such outcome is for the military pressure on Hamas to continue until that barbaric terror organisation is prepared to concede these terms.

“This is why it is so disappointing that Australia then followed up the above statement by voting in favour of a UN General Assembly resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire that contradicted any efforts to achieve an end to the Israel-Gaza conflict that is genuinely sustainable – making no call for Hamas to either lay down its arms or end its appalling practice of misusing Gaza civilians as human shields. By effectively calling for an end to the military pressure on Hamas, but not demanding Hamas be disarmed, this resolution makes it much less likely that the “sustainable ceasefire” Australia appropriately supports will ever be achieved.

“Given our call for such a ceasefire, and the explanation of vote given by our UN Ambassador James Larsen calling for Hamas to be ‘be defeated and dismantled,’ Australia should have joined our many allies amongst the ten countries which took a principled stance against this resolution or at least the 23 which abstained.

“While everyone is concerned about the humanitarian situation of Gaza civilians and wants to see their plight ameliorated, the best way to end that suffering is to bring the war to a sustainable conclusion as rapidly as possible – meaning Hamas must be disarmed – even while stepping up efforts to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza, something Israel has promised to facilitate.

“A ceasefire which leaves Hamas in control of Gaza and able to rebuild its military capabilities guarantees two things. Firstly, war will soon resume, causing even more suffering to both the civilian residents of Gaza, as well as Israelis – with Hamas having repeatedly expressed its determination to repeat the unprovoked massacre of October 7 ‘again and again’. And secondly, advancing the negotiated two-state Israeli-Palestinian peace that Australia has long supported will be completely impossible.”

Dr. Colin Rubenstein – Executive Director, Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC)

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