Sydney: In Sydney a delegation of nine Australian Muslim community leaders met with the Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Penny Wong on Wednesday, 1st November to raise the Muslim community’s concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza – Palestine.
The delegation included Muslim leaders from different states of Australia including Abdullah Khan, Imam Shadi Alsuleiman, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamad, Bilal Rauf, Ramia Abdo Sultan, Tariq Nashar, Mahammaed Fahour, Ali Kadri and Habib Jamal.
The delegation expressed deep concern about deteriorating humanitarian conditions and civilian casualties in Gaza due to Israeli bombardment and ground offensive, stressing the lack of acknowledgment of the grievances and losses of Palestinian civilians, as well as the transgressions committed against them. They emphasized the need to address the actions of the Israeli Government, including its use of ‘collective punishment,’ as well as human rights and international law violations, such as the siege on Gaza. This siege has deprived over 2.2 million Gaza residents of basic necessities, including food, water, and medical assistance.
In response the Prime Minister underscored the Australian Government’s commitment to the Palestinian people, including decisions to reverse the previous Government’s recognition of West Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, reaffirming that Jerusalem is a final status issue, adopting the nomenclature of Occupied Palestinian Territories, doubling funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, and affirming that settlements are illegal under international law.
A day after the meeting the Foreign Minister of Australia Penny Wong speaking to reporters in Adelaide urged Israel to halt the killing of civilians in Gaza and emphasized the need for humanitarian supplies like food, water, medicine, and fuel to reach the people in desperate need. She also expressed concern over reports of Palestinian families being forced out of West Bank villages by Israel and called for such actions to stop. Wong stressed that even in times of conflict, there are rules, and the international community will not accept ongoing civilian deaths. She warned that Israel’s own security could face grave risks if the conflict spreads further. The conflict has led to a significant loss of life and displacement, and basic supplies are running low in Gaza due to the Israeli siege.