Tuesday 16th of July 2024

no to genocide....

The essential difference between Senator Fatima Payman and the rest of the federal Labor caucus – and the Coalition caucus as well – is that she opposes genocide and wants the federal parliament to take effective action against it. She is a minority of one in the federal Labor-Coalition political class.


Payman shatters the shackles of political amorality    By Peter Henning


Everything that has occurred in relation to her treatment by Labor-Coalition politicians and mass media hacks is a direct result of her daring to speak the truth about what is happening in Gaza, by stating on 14 May, in part:

“This is a genocide, and we need to stop pretending otherwise…. Instead of advocating for justice, I see our leaders performatively gesture defending the oppressor’s right to oppress, while gas-lighting the global community about the rights of self-defence, of the armed jailers against their prisoners, of the dominators against the subjugated, of the well-fed against the starving… I ask our Prime Minister and our fellow parliamentarians, how many international rights laws must Israel break for us to say enough? What is the magic number? How many lives need to be lost before we say enough? What is the magic number? How many mass graves need to be uncovered before we say enough? How many images of bloodied limbs of murdered children must we see?”

Payman also suggested that Australia stand for “what is right” and used the term “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” in calling for “freedom from the occupation, freedom from the violence and freedom from the inequality”.

Her speech, made on the 75th anniversary to commemorate the Nakba, pushed her morally-based position beyond profound dissonance with her peers and superiors, into absolute collision, for it publicly exposed their abject lack of moral fibre. Her stance provoked Labor-Coalition retaliation, the senate passing a resolution condemning her use of the term “from the river to the sea” as anti-Semitic, a resolution which deliberately avoided the issues which Payman raised.

From this point of time the exclusion of Payman from her place on parliamentary committees began the process of her ostracism. After 25 June, when Payman crossed the floor in the senate to support a Greens motion that the senate debate recognising Palestinian statehood, a motion opposed by all other Labor-Coalition senators, Payman was suspended from the Labor caucus.

On 30 June, Payman informed the media that she would maintain her position, based on conscience, and would support a future motion to recognise Palestine. Two days later the Labor caucus unanimously agreed to Albanese’s decision to indefinitely suspend Payman from caucus, Albanese pontificating that he showed “strength in compassion” in not expelling Payman from the ALP.

But the problem remained for Labor that Payman hadn’t contradicted Labor’s policy platform, written in 2023, which “Supports the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders; Calls on the Australian Government to recognise Palestine as a state; and expects that this issue will be an important priority for the Australian Government”. She had done the opposite. She had tried to get the government to implement its own policy platform, recognition of the state of Palestine as an important priority.

In no way did she contradict the other aspect of the policy, the recognition and right of Israel and Palestine to exist as two states within secure and recognised borders. What she did do, however, was attempt to expedite Australian recognition of Palestine, which the Albanese government refuses to do. Payman thereby posed a direct threat to the government by putting them in the embarrassing position of having to explain somehow why they refused to recognise Palestine at a time when its territory and people were being systematically destroyed.

Therefore, on 3 July Labor rammed a motion through the House of Reps for “recognition of the state of Palestine as part of a peace process in support of a two-state solution and a just and enduring peace”, a motion designed to fit plausibly within the party platform but which in fact flatly rejected recognising Palestine until well into the future, if at all, given the obvious reality that Israel completely rejects a two-state solution, in both its rhetoric, and all its actions for the last nine months in both Gaza and the West Bank, and given that the US continues its military supplies to Israel to use in its determination to finally annihilate any hope of a two-state solution.

To quote George Browning in his recent open letter to Albanese, “tell me why your commitment to a two-state solution with absolutely no condemnation of Israeli policy and action which makes that outcome impossible, is a position worthy of anything other than contempt?”

While the mass murder of Palestinians continues, attended by the remorseless barbarity and savagery of destroying a whole society by all means available, the Australian government has sought to distract attention from its refusal to condemn it as well as other multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity by hideous casuistry, elevating their “rules” of caucus solidarity in defence of their amoral political vacuity.

Labor has corrupted the meaning and use of “caucus solidarity” from its original conception as a principled commitment to policies which redressed socio-economic disadvantage, poverty, intergenerational deprivation, and exploitation of labour and vulnerable sectors of society. For Albanese and the whole federal Labor party – and the whole Dutton-led Coalition –when their “strength” in “caucus solidarity” is expressed in blatant conflict and disregard with all principles of fundamental human rights, “caucus solidarity” is rotten.

Payman’s treatment by the Labor-Coalition political class, exemplified in the hatred and vitriol exhibited towards her, especially in federal parliament on 4 July, and in the right wing media, should drive home to Australians that none of them are interested in distinguishing between “right from wrong” on any policy issue, for it has failed ignominiously on the most important issue it could ever be required to address with resolve and commitment – opposition to genocide.




Palestine is an issue of justice not religion    By Sawsan Madina


At the coming elections, many of us will vote on the basis of a party’s or a candidate’s stance on the issue of Palestine. It will be a vote to reject the occupation, apartheid, the use of starvation as a weapon of war, and a myriad of other unspeakable horrors. And it will be an appeal to our common humanity to stop the genocide in Gaza and to help Palestinians get peace with justice. I sincerely hope it will not be a religion-based vote.

Religion, like the colour of skin, is a mere accident of birth, and should not be used as a basis for casting one’s vote. Let’s ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.’ and keep politics and religion separate.

The reason people around the world are distressed by the plight of Palestinians is not a shared religion but a shared humanity. We are horrified by the savagery inflicted on Palestinians and tormented by their suffering. And we would have been equally horrified and tormented if they had a different religion or if they did not believe in God.

I watched Senator Fatima Payman’s Insiders interview and her pronouncements since then, with empathy and much admiration. I admire her courage, her moral stance and her ability to articulate that stance so eloquently. And I am bewildered by the preoccupation with party rules. I do understand the importance of rules for Labor as well as for any other organisation. But I am still dismayed by the current focus on party rules and not on the genocide in Gaza. If the starving, maiming and slaughtering of tens of thousands of children do not transcend party rules. What will?

Senator Payman’s views and feelings reflect the views and feelings of those of us who are devastated by the genocide in Gaza and the ethnic cleansing in the West Bank and Jerusalem. We share her anguish over what is being done to the Palestinians and we are angry at our government’s inaction to help stop it. Every image of an emaciated, starving child reminds us of the unseemly haste with which our government suspended its funding to UNRWA. For many of us, the genocide in Gaza is a huge issue. Much bigger than our political leaders imagine. It keeps us awake at night, it triggers sudden bouts of sobbing, and we feel it as a constant, visceral pain.

When political leaders repeat their hollow words about the two-state solution, I feel like asking them “And, beyond futile condemnations, what have you done over the past decades to stop the expansion of settlements?” “On exactly which remaining square kilometre of land do you propose that this independent Palestinian state would exist?” When they speak about the recognition of Palestine only as part of a peace process, I feel like asking “Is this the same bogus process that went on for decades, leading to more dispossession of Palestinians and greater abuses of their human rights?” “How can negotiations take place between a powerless people, bombed back- to- the- stone age and a people backed by the most powerful military in the world?” “How can negotiations succeed in the absence of an honest broker? Or do you still believe that the US is an honest broker?”

I do believe that we should use our votes to show our leaders how we feel about important issues such as climate change, indigenous people’s rights, sleepwalking into America’s wars of choice, and the lack of concrete action to stop the genocide in Gaza. I would have welcomed a ‘Palestinian Lives Matter’ initiative but ‘Muslim Votes Matter’ troubles me. I firmly believe that religion has no place in politics. Palestine is an issue of justice not religion. And like Christians and Jews, Muslims are not a monolithic block. There are religious Muslims and there are cultural Muslims. A ‘Muslim Vote Matter’ would deny the untiring advocacy of the many great Christian and non-believing Palestinians. Edward Said was not Muslim, George Habash was not a Muslim, Saree Makdisi is not Muslim. And a religion-based vote would alienate the many Australians who, like me, do not wish to see the introduction of poisonous sectarianism into Australian politics. And it would give the usual culprits in politics and the media, ample opportunities to dog-whistle and further demonise Australian Muslims.

A look around the world today would clearly show the immense suffering that results from mixing religion and politics. At the risk of offending religious people, I think the world would be a much better place without religion-based schools, religion-based political parties or religion-based countries.








Lancet warns Gaza death toll could be over 186,000


Andre Damon


The Lancet, the prestigious peer-reviewed British medical journal, has warned that the true death toll in the Gaza genocide could be 186,000 or more.

This staggering figure amounts to 8 percent of the population of Gaza. A similar percentage of the US population would be 26 million people.

It stands as an indictment of the United States and its imperialist allies, who have funded, armed and politically defended Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

The massive death toll has been made possible by the 14,000 2,000-pound bombs provided by the US to Israel, which it has used not only to massacre tens of thousands but also to destroy all aspects of civilization in Gaza, contributing to the deaths of tens of thousands through malnutrition, communicable diseases and lack of healthcare.

The official death toll since the onset of the Israeli attack, according to Gazan government sources, is 37,396. But The Lancet noted that this figure reflects neither the thousands of people buried under the rubble nor the countless deaths caused by the deliberate destruction of Gaza’s food distribution, healthcare and sanitation systems.

In its report published Friday, titled “Counting the Dead in Gaza: Difficult but Essential,” The Lancet noted:

The number of reported deaths is likely an underestimate. The non-governmental organization Airwars undertakes detailed assessments of incidents in the Gaza Strip and often finds that not all names of identifiable victims are included in the Ministry’s list. Furthermore, the UN estimates that, by Feb. 29, 2024, 35% of buildings in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, so the number of bodies still buried in the rubble is likely substantial, with estimates of more than 10,000.

The publication further pointed out that “Collecting data is becoming increasingly difficult for the Gaza Health Ministry due to the destruction of much of the infrastructure.”

The report warned:

The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict; destroyed health-care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water, and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.


The Lancet noted:

In recent conflicts, such indirect deaths range from three to 15 times the number of direct deaths. Applying a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death to the 37,396 deaths reported, it is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza. Using the 2022 Gaza Strip population estimate of 2,375,259, this would translate to 7.9% of the total population in the Gaza Strip.

The Lancet estimate of a death toll of 186,000 is thus based on two assumptions that would tend to lower the estimated death toll. First, it starts with the government’s reported death toll of 37,396, which does not include those buried under the rubble. Then, it uses a multiple of four to estimate the “indirect” deaths caused by the war, as opposed to the multiple of 15 times the number of “direct deaths” observed in other conflicts.

There are reasons to question the validity of these low assumptions, including the fact that Israeli officials have explicitly stated a goal of killing Palestinian civilians through starvation and disease.

In November, Giora Eiland, the former head of the Israeli National Security Council, published an article in which he urged the Israeli military to create medical conditions that would cause the deaths of as many Gazan civilians as possible from preventable disease.

He wrote:

Who are the “poor” women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters, or wives of Hamas murderers. … The international community warns us of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics. We must not shy away from this, as difficult as that may be. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer and reduce casualties among IDF soldiers.

This genocidal rhetoric is consistent with the declaration by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of “a complete siege ... no electricity, no water, no food, no fuel. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”

In a report published last month, the United Nations commission investigating the Gaza genocide declared:

Israel has used starvation as a method of war, affecting the entire population of the Gaza Strip for decades to come, with particularly negative consequences for children.

The UN committee concluded:

At the time of writing this report, children have already died due to acute malnutrition and dehydration. Through the siege it imposed, Israel has weaponized the withholding of life-sustaining necessities, cutting off supplies of water, food, electricity, fuel, and other essential supplies, including humanitarian assistance. This constitutes collective punishment and reprisal against the civilian population, both of which are clear violations of [international humanitarian law].

The Biden administration, in covering up and defending the Gaza genocide, has claimed that the deaths of civilians are an unintended consequence of Israel’s “war against Hamas.” But these claims are belied by the statements of Israeli officials, who have made it clear that they are waging a war of extermination against the civilian population.

In October, Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared:

It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved … we will fight until we break their backbone.

That same month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated: “You must remember what Amalek has done to you,” referring to a biblical passage that states, “Go, attack Amalek. ... Spare no one, but kill alike men and women, infants, and sucklings.”

The report by The Lancet makes it clear that the Gaza genocide is among the greatest acts of imperialist barbarism in modern history. In under one year, the United States and other imperialist powers have worked with Israel to wipe out close to a tenth of the population of one of the most densely populated urban areas in the world.

This crime is part of a global eruption of imperialist violence, aiming to subjugate the whole world under neo-colonial domination, targeting centrally Russia and China. The massive death toll in Gaza is a warning: Imperialism is prepared to carry out any crime in pursuit of its predatory interests.

The Gaza genocide must be stopped! On July 24, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Washington D.C. to give a progress report to his imperialist paymasters. We call on workers and young people to join the demonstration and meeting in Washington called for that day by the Socialist Equality Party as a critical step in building a mass anti-war movement based on the working class.





zionist bastards....

Dozens killed in Gaza as Israel strikes fourth school in four days

Dozens of Palestinians were killed or wounded in an Israeli strike on a school used as a displacement shelters near the southern Gazan city of Khan Yunis, hospital sources said. It was the fourth Israeli strike on a school in four days, which Israeli authorities try to justify by claiming that Hamas militants were "hiding" in the schools.

Palestinian sources said at least 29 people were killed Tuesday in a strike on a school being used to shelter displaced people in Gaza, the fourth such incident in four days, with Hamas blaming Israel for the deaths.

Israel's military told AFP it was checking the latest reports. It has acknowledged carrying out three other strikes since Saturday on Gaza schools being used as shelters.

The strike hit the entrance to Al-Awda school in Abasan, said a source at Nasser hospital in the nearby southern city of Khan Yunis where victims were taken, adding that 29 were killed and dozens wounded.

The Hamas-run government media office accused Israel of carrying out a "terrible massacre" and also gave the death toll as 29, saying the "majority" were women and children.





SEE ALSO: https://johnmenadue.com/why-does-albanese-pander-to-his-enemies-and-neglect-his-friends/

Why does Albanese pander to his enemies and neglect his friends?


did not help....


US To Permanently Remove Pier Built Off the Coast of Gaza

The pier cost the US hundreds of millions of dollars


by Dave DeCamp


The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the pier the US military built off the coast of Gaza will be reattached to the shore on Wednesday and then permanently removed after a few days.

The idea is to clear aid that has piled up in Cyprus and on the offshore floating dock before ending the mission, which has not brought any relief to the starving Palestinians in Gaza.

Aid groups have criticized the pier as a public relations stunt to make it appear that the US was doing something to get more aid into Gaza while continuing to support the Israeli military’s genocidal war and starvation blockade. President Biden ordered the construction of the pier instead of pressuring Israel to open more land border crossings, which is by far the most efficient way to get aid into the Strip.

The Pentagon initially estimated the pier would cost $320 million to build and operate for 90 days but later revised the estimate to $230 million. The Pentagon also had to spend $22 million on repairs after the pier was damaged by heavy seas.

The pier was removed from the coast several times due to weather that it could not handle. It was designed to be safely operated in a maximum of 3-foot waves and winds less than approximately 15 miles per hour, and heavier conditions are common in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

Aid delivered through the pier also couldn’t be delivered due to the security situation for aid groups. On June 9, the UN’s World Food Program halted operations in the area after the Israeli military struck its warehouses during the massive assault on Nuiserat that killed over 270 Palestinians and freed four Israeli hostages.

AP previously reported that the UN was investigating whether or not the US-built pier was used in the Nuiserat massacre. Video that surfaced online showed an Israeli military helicopter operating near the pier during the operation, and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society said some of the Israeli troops who carried out the raid arrived in an aid truck.