Nationwide events: Australia joins Global Day of Action to end arms transfers to Israel

Nationwide events: Australia joins Global Day of Action to end arms transfers to Israel
Nationwide events: Australia joins Global Day of Action to end arms transfers to Israel

2 May 2024

As the people of Gaza face relentless bombardment, death, and destruction on an unprecedented scale, Australian organizations including Amnesty International, Oxfam Australia, Save the Children, Plan International Australia, ActionAid, Muslim Aid Australia, APHEDA-UnionAid Abroad, Australian Palestinian Advocacy Network (APAN), the Australian Council for International Development, Australian Council for International Development and Trade Unionists for Palestine are supporting the global call for an end to the transfer of arms to Israel.

On May 2, the Global Day of Action will mobilize an international coalition of arms experts, civil society organizations, climate activists, healthcare workers, faith leaders, journalists, academics, legal professionals, artists and students around the shared goal of calling on all states to halt the transfer of weapons, parts and ammunitions used to fuel atrocity crimes in Gaza.

The Global Day of Action will take place in fourteen countries across the world, kicking off in New Zealand, closely followed by events in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra.

The events in Australia will be attended by members of the public, who will call on the Australian Government to immediately end the export of weapons and weapons parts where the Israeli Defense Force is the end user of the export.

Global Day of Action has a particular focus on the arms-exporting nations of the US, Canada, UK, Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Australia–and engage in public stunts and a coordinated social media campaign, with the intention of elevating the Global Day of Action’s central messages:

  1. Halt all transfer of weapons, parts and ammunition used to fuel the crisis in Gaza.
  2. Demands perpetrators of international humanitarian law violations and atrocity crimes are held to account.
  3. Urge governments to not be complicit in ongoing violations of international law by fulfilling their legal obligations and ensuring a permanent ceasefire now.

Although the Australian Government has said that Australia has not exported weapons to Israel for 5 years, the Government has not confirmed whether weapon parts manufactured in Australia have been approved for export.

The Australian section of Lockheed Martin states on its website that “as a program partner, Australian businesses are supplying components for the entire F-35 fleet, not just Australian aircraft. Every F-35 built contains some Australian parts and components.” The Israeli Air Force has used F-35s in air strikes on the occupied Gaza Strip. At the time of this publication, Lockheed Martin had removed this statement from their website.

In the Netherlands, a court has ordered the government to stop shipping F-35 parts to Israel because of the risk that they will be used in serious violations of international humanitarian law.

In the face of a UN Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire, the Government of Israel continues to use explosive weapons and ammunition in densely populated areas with massive humanitarian consequences for the people of Gaza.

AUSTRALIAN EVENTS

Organization representatives will be available for interview at all events.

sydney – 12pm, Hyde Park North (near the fountain)

Spokespeople:

  • Rawan Arraf – Australian Center for International Justice
  • Kate Lee – Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA
  • Mohamed Duar – Amnesty International Australia

Media Contact: Rachel Dobric: 0451 187 258 or [email protected]

Canberra – 12pm, Australian Parliament House

Spokesperson: Michelle Higelin, ActionAid Australia

Media contact: Sally Rugg 0423 552 208 or [email protected]

Melbourne – 12pm, State Library

Spokespeople TBC

Media contact: Sally Rugg 0423 552 208 or [email protected]

QUOTES FROM LEADERS OF ORGANISATIONS SUPPORTING THE GLOBAL DAY OF ACTION

Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Officer Lyn Morgain says, “Any provision of support to the IDF at present is unconscionable and risks fueling genocide. With civilian deaths continuing to climb, including aid workers, women and children, it’s clear the Israeli military is not respecting international law in its conduct during this war.

“The Australian Government must also increase the transparency around its opaque arms trade processes – Australian taxpayers have a right to know what their taxes are paying for and what their political representatives are allowing in their name.”

Kate Lee, Union Aid Abroad says, “Australian unions have always taken a strong stand for peace and the protection of civilians in any conflict. We know that working people and their families are the main victims of armed action. Australia has a responsibility under international law to stop the supply of any weapons, including parts and ammunition, where there is likely to be violations of international law. That is why the ACTU has publicly called for the Australian Government to take immediate steps to end military trade with Israel.”

Marc Purcell, Australian Council for International Development says: “The Australian-Israeli defense relationship is deeply intertwined. The very real evidence that Australian components are used in the IDF’s offensive on Gaza is incredibly disturbing. The Government must act to ensure any Australian contributions into the IDF assault on civilians in Gaza ceases. We call for the Albanese Government to end the two-way transfer of weapon parts, materials and ammunition to Israel.

Mohamed Duar, Amnesty International spokesperson says, “It is not enough to say that the Australian government has not exported weapons to Israel. The government must commit to halting the export of any weapons, parts, and ammunition that will be used by the Israeli Defense Force. For decades, and for the last six months, Amnesty International has documented the Israeli Defense Force committing war crimes with impunity. Right now, these crimes are causing unparalleled suffering for Palestinians in Gaza. It is time the government committed to not allowing anything manufactured in Australia to contribute to death and destruction in Gaza.”

Mat Tinkler, Save the Children Australia CEO, says, “It is counterproductive for the Australian Government to keep calling for a ceasefire in Gaza while at the same time continuing to allow the export of Australian-made products to Israel that could be used by Israeli forces to commit serious violations against children. “Australia has moral, humanitarian, and legal imperatives to immediately ban all military exports to Israel and do everything within its power to urge the warring parties to agree to a definitive ceasefire.”

Michelle Higelin, ActionAid Australia Executive Director, says “Gaza is one of the deadliest places in the world for women and girls right now: we know that 70% of the more than 34,000 people killed have been women and children. Over two million people are in the brink of starvation and sheltering from constant bombardment in fear of their lives. “This devastating situation continues to be fueled by the governments that are arming the Israeli military.”

“Australians are right to be concerned about the role our country is playing in this conflict. It’s horrifying that people in Gaza are being targeted with plans that rely on Australian parts. This must stop. “We’re calling on the Government to urgently take action to ensure nothing manufactured here contributes to death and destruction in Gaza.”

Rawan Arraf, Executive Director, Australian Center for International Justice, says “The Australian Government must answer the public’s demand to halt arms transfers to Israel. This demand underscored international legal obligations Australia has to prevent genocide and respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law. The Government must stop the obfuscation and provide transparency over what Australian arms components are being transferred for use by the Israeli military, and it must end those transfers immediately.”

Paddy Gibson, Trade Unionists for Palestine, says “Trade Unionists for Palestine are made up of hundreds of rank and file union members who have helped to organize and support actions at factories and ports involved in the arms trade with Israel over the past six months. We are very heartened to see the recent resolution from the ACTU demanding an end to all arms trade with Israel. Unions have a proud history of using our collective power to challenge the carnage of warfare, that power is urgently needed now to bring an end to Australia’s complicity with the genocide in Gaza. “We plan to escalate protest actions, including with a national day of action at ports on May 25 – the Albanese government must act now.”

The Global Day of Action, organized by civil society and international NGOs collaborating on global #CeasefireNOW advocacy, will raise awareness about the devastating impact of arms transfers on human rights, specifically in the Gaza Strip, where civilians bear the brunt of violence; call on governments worldwide to halt arms transfers to Israel, emphasizing the importance of upholding international law and protecting the rights of Palestinians affected by the crisis; and demonstrate the strength of people power to actively engage in targeted efforts to halt arms transfers to Israel.

The day will be built upon a call by more than 250 humanitarian and human rights organizations, which have signed a letter calling on all states to immediately halt the transfer of weapons, parts and ammunition to Israel and Palestinian armed groups while there is risk they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

”Israel’s bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable,” the letter reads. ”Today, the civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale.”

All states have the obligation to prevent atrocity crimes and promote adherence to norms that protect civilians. The Global Day of Action is calling on the international community to live up to these commitments.

It is not enough to say that we are not exporting weapons to Israel, the Australian government must commit to halting the transfer of weapons and weapons parts where the Israeli Defense Force is the end user of the export. Canada, Spain, and Belgium have already halted arms exports to Israel. We must ensure nothing manufactured in Australia contributes to death and destruction in Gaza.

#NoArmsToIsrael #StopSendingArms #CeasefireNOW

 
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