We cannot ignore the broader context when speaking about Israel and Palestine

On behalf of the Greens, Abigail moved an amendment to a Labor motion to recognise the broader context in relation to Israel and Palestine and the events of October 7, 2023.

11 October, 2023

Abigail said: 

The events of the past week have been profoundly upsetting. The loss of civilian life is shocking, and the actions that have led to that loss of life are reprehensible. Many of us in Australia have direct connections with people in Israel impacted by this recent escalation of events. My heart goes out to family and friends of everyone injured or killed in Israel and those who will live forever with traumatic memories of what has happened over the past week. Similarly, many of us in Australia have a direct connection with people living in Palestine and have heard news of the atrocities committed by Israel against Palestinian civilians over the past many decades of this conflict. My heart goes out to family and friends of everyone injured or killed in Palestine and those who live with ongoing trauma due to the illegal occupation of Gaza by Israel and Israel's violent attempts to drive Palestinian people out of Gaza.

There is no doubt that recent events are shocking and distressing, but the disproportionate focus on one side of this conflict by media and politicians is irresponsible and can only lead to further violence and take us further away from peace. Where was the outrage and outpouring of sadness every time a Palestinian child was killed by Israeli forces over the past several decades? Those of us paying attention read those stories every day. They cause a real and profound sadness across the globe for Palestinian people. That is not to take away from the sadness of or to excuse the recent atrocities but, unfortunately, there is more to this story than is currently being reported.

Palestinian people are no more the enemy or villain in this story than Israeli people are. However, the actions of the State of Israel, and the root cause of this conflict through actions by Israel as a nation state, cannot be minimised or ignored, nor can the massive power imbalance between the two countries. Israel is a nation with significant economic, military and political resources and, right now, Israel is denying essential services to people in Palestine, with hundreds of Palestinian people being killed. That is not a measured and proportionate response. Today the United Nations human rights chief slammed the response as being in breach of international law.

The Greens' proposed amendments will bring the motion into line with the sentiments expressed in the mover's speech. We have a responsibility in this place to work towards peace, not further division. In that spirit, I move:

That the question be amended as follows:

(1)Insert after paragraph (1):

(2)That this House denounces the air strikes, bombing of Palestinian civilians and taking of hostages by Israel.

(2)In paragraph (2) insert "the dropping of bombs," after "the killing of civilians,".

(3)In paragraph (4) omit "calls for an end to the attacks" and insert instead "calls for a ceasefire".

(4)Omit paragraph (5) and insert instead:

(5)That this House acknowledges that to achieve peace the occupation of Palestine must end.


All MPs voted against the Greens amendment, so it did not pass.

There was then a vote for the original motion in its original form, and the Greens were the only MPs to vote against it.

Click here to see the full debate in Hansard.

To see the original motion moved by Labor and for the rest of the debate, click here.

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