The Coalition Government, with the support of Labor, moved a motion celebrating 15 May as Israel Independence Day. Abigail called this out as a disrespect to Palestinians being persecuted as we speak.
This motion commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence on 15 May 1948, but what it does not acknowledge is that 15 May 1948 is known to the Palestinian people as Al Nakba, which translates to "the catastrophe". For 74 years, Israel has worked to dispossess and oppress the Palestinian people, who are indigenous to the lands that they have been, and continue to be, driven out of by the settler‑colonialist State of Israel. The occupation of Palestine and the systematic persecution of its people by the State of Israel has been condemned by the world's foremost human rights organisations, including the United Nations Human Rights Council, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, as well as Israel's preeminent human rights organisation B'Tselem. The first report of the United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and territory in Israel, issued its first report on 7 June 2022. Australian expert on international human rights law and United Nations commissioner on the inquiry Chris Sidoti stated that Israel "has established clear policies to ensure complete permanent control over the Occupied Palestinian Territory". He continued:
This includes altering the demography of these territories through the maintenance of a repressive environment for Palestinians and a favourable environment for Israeli settlers. Israel's policies and actions build Palestinian frustration and lead to a sense of despair. They fuel the cycle of violence and the protraction of conflict.
Territories that the State of Israel allows Palestinians to live in continue to shrink. The data shows that since 2006, 22,640 Palestinian people have been left homeless because of home demolitions by the State of Israel. Israel recently passed laws to forcibly dispossess some 1,300 Palestinians from eight villages and communities in an area in the West Bank, south of Hebron, known as Masafer Yatta. This will be the largest forcible expulsion of Palestinians since the 1970s.
The discrimination by the State of Israel against Palestinians extends past dispossession of indigenous lands. United Nations data shows that, since 2008, the State of Israel has killed 5,999 Palestinians, including 3,435 civilians. This is compared with 110 Israelis killed by Palestinian armed groups in the same period. I note in particular the death of Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh on 11 May of this year, who was shot by the Israeli military while wearing a press vest and standing with other journalists nowhere near armed Palestinians.
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