International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2023

The Greens stand in solidarity with all Palestinians, today and every day. Abigail gave a speech tonight about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and the need for a permanent ceasefire and an end to the illegal occupation. 

29 November, 2023

Abigail said:

Today is the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Our solidarity with the Palestinian people cannot waver now, during one of the very darkest chapters in the history of those people. Today, and every day, we stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their ongoing struggle to achieve and affirm their inalienable rights. Right now Palestinians in Gaza are suffering a humanitarian catastrophe, with almost 1.7 million people forced from their homes. They are being forced from their homes because, for many, those homes have been destroyed by a brutal bombardment by the state of Israel. According to military analysts and experts, civilians in Gaza are being killed at a rate with few precedents in this century.

As has been reported, people are being killed in Gaza more quickly than in even the deadliest moments of United States [US] led attacks in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan—the brutality of which were also criticised at the time by leading human rights groups. Israel has reported that it has engaged more than 15,000 targets prior to the temporary ceasefire. Israel is dropping US‑made 2,000‑pound bombs capable of flattening entire apartment blocks onto an innocent civilian population in one of the most densely populated sections of land in the world. The death count is nearly impossible to determine accurately. Conservative estimates place it at more than 15,000, of which around 10,000 are women and children.

The World Health Organization has warned that more people could die from disease than from bombings in the Gaza Strip if the health and sanitation systems are not repaired. Starvation, thirst and disease stalk Gaza. This is the collective punishment of the Palestinian people and it must end. As Sabri Farra, a medical student from Gaza, wrote in a post on social media: The word catastrophe is insufficient to describe this. It is a collective inferno of extermination against the Palestinian people.

The date of 29 November has been observed as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People since 1978. This date was chosen because of its meaning and significance to the Palestinian people and is based on the call by the United Nations General Assembly for an annual observance of the resolution on the partition of Palestine. It is an opportunity for the international community to remind ourselves that the Palestinian people are still denied their inalienable rights as defined by the General Assembly—the right to self‑determination without external interference, the right to national independence and sovereignty, and the right to return to their homes and property from which they have been displaced. Seventy‑five years ago on 15 May 1948, a catastrophe for the Palestinian people occurred, Al Nakba. With the declaration of Israel's independence, 75 to 80 per cent of the Palestinian people were made refugees and the 20 to 25 per cent remaining were internally displaced on their own lands. Now Gaza is the world's largest open‑air prison.

As a result of the Nakba, the Palestinian people live scattered all over the world and are denied their inalienable right to return home. Even before the most recent assault, Israel had illegally annexed East Jerusalem and illegally settled more than 620,000 Jewish Israeli citizens on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem making a viable two‑state solution in Palestine increasingly untenable. The Gaza Strip has been under a permanent state of siege since 2007. Goods cannot get in or out. Food, medicines and other necessities are restricted. The September 2022Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 found that "the occupation is not merely belligerent, but is settler‑colonial in nature" and that Israel has "prevented the realisation of Palestinian people's right to self‑determination, violating each component of that right, wilfully pursuing the 'de‑Palestinianisation' of the occupied territory". What we are now witnessing is another Nakba—another violent assault and land grab, the impacts of which will reverberate for generations.

We are now, blessedly, in a temporary pause in the hostility and bombardment by Israel. This pause has given journalists the opportunity to venture further into Gaza again and to document the utter desolation facing the Palestinian people. It is devastating. We must work now to ensure this is more than a pause, that it becomes a permanent ceasefire that becomes a permanent and lasting peace. Our solidarity with the Palestinian people demands peace. It demands justice. It demands humanity. Our solidarity with the Palestinian people is a position emerging from moral clarity on this issue, it is from a clear‑sighted view of history. The people of Australia have been rising up in solidarity with the people of Palestine and we will not stop until Palestine is free and a true and lasting peace is achieved. Free free Palestine. 

Read the transcript in Hansard here.

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