Statement: Situation in Gaza: July 16, 2014

This July marks 10 years since the International Court of Justice handed down its advisory opinion on the legal consequences of the construction of Israel's wall in the occupied Palestinian territory. The court determined that the wall and all Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank are illegal, and that the fourth Geneva Convention applies to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in full. The Parliamentary Friends of Palestine hosted a forum yesterday commemorating the 10th anniversary of the ICJ, and our guest speaker was Professor Ben Saul from the University of Sydney. This event was timely, given the tragic situation in Gaza at the moment. It is devastating that Israel has decided to resume air strikes in the Gaza Strip following the collapse of the very short-lived ceasefire. Tragically for the people in Gaza, the eight-day conflict has already killed almost 200 Palestinians, 100 of whom were civilians, amongst them 31 children. With Hamas militants defying Arab and Western calls to cease rocket attacks, and with Israel threatening to step up an offensive that could include an invasion of this most densely populated enclave, it is imperative that both sides should now show restraint in what is a devastating blow to peace prospects and what is also a predictable, disproportionate and cruel attack on the Palestinians in Gaza.

We as a parliament should all be very concerned about this situation. I also believe that we as a parliament should be speaking up and voicing our concern about a situation in the Middle East that could have tragic and dire consequences if it does not come to some sort of end.