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20 Oct 2023

Media releases

Statement on Israel and Palestine

Over the past two weeks, there has been an unprecedented scale of violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and a rapid intensification of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and surrounding areas. 

The loss of life is stark, and throughout the region, communities are grappling with the devastating loss of loved ones —with each number representing someone’s son, daughter, sibling, parent, or friend.  

As we continue to consume reports on the region, we must not fall trap to division and work to collectively humanise communities and work to collectively call for the protection of civilians.  

Australia has a fundamental duty to stand with all innocent people in any conflict zone, and to call for restraint, an end to violence, and where that is not possible, the rules of conflict to be followed by all sides.  

The targeting of civilians, taking of hostages, collective punishment, starvation and deprivation of civilians, and the use of indiscriminate weapons is against International Human Rights Law and must be condemned to the highest degree.  

As a settlement provider, SSI joins the many voices and organisations calling for the cessation of conflict, immediate return of hostages, end to the blockade on electricity, food, fuel, and clean water, and the killing of all innocent people. The responsibility to protect civilians, and especially displaced communities, must remain at the core of everything all parties do. 

We reiterate that humanitarian organisations must be given immediate and unconditional access to assist Palestinians living in Gaza and work to alleviate the growing human suffering.  

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Without this access to food, water, and medical supplies, the lives of many more Gazans, including hundreds of thousands of children, are at significant risk.  

Australia has a strong track record of stepping up during times of international need and doing its part as a global player to provide safety and security to populations displaced by conflict. This includes providing emergency evacuations at times of crisis, just as was done in Afghanistan during the fall of Kabul.  

Our sector has capacity to support this process and if given the opportunity, we are ready and willing to support any civilians and displaced communities escaping the conflict who seek refuge in Australia. 

The staggering loss of life, humanitarian tragedy, and the impact the conflict is having on the lives of countless individuals in the region and the diaspora abroad cannot be overstated.  

If you are experiencing distress, you can find practical advice on maintaining your wellbeing after distressing events by the Australian Red Cross, or contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for free, confidential support. 

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