This site has previously reported on the upcoming visit to Israel by a number of senior Australian politician and journalists. The message? Warm, cuddly embrace of Israel in all its authoritarian ways.
The following letter was sent yesterday by Australians for Palestine to all members of parliament:
Dear Senator/Member of Parliament,
The reported visit of 17 ministers, members and senators of the Australian Parliament to Israel as part of a 40 member delegation in December is a cause for serious concern. That the visit is being arranged and is partly funded by the privately owned Australia Israel Leadership Forum (AILF) and that many of those going are known Israel supporters, already brings into question the value of a trip so one-sided. As far as we have been able to ascertain, there are no representatives from the Greens or Independents or from the Australian Parliamentary Friends of Palestine; there is no visit scheduled in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and there are no meetings with Palestinian representatives whether from the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, Palestinian members of the Knesset, Hamas leaders, heads of churches or NGOs.
Such a visit cannot possibly open the delegation up to the realities on the ground. In the interests of giving at least a balanced report, we have offered to facilitate meetings with Dr Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian negotiator and a PLO executive member and Palestinian Knesset members Haneen Zoabi and Dr Jamal Zahalka who have all made themselves available.
We are asking that you use your good offices to urge your colleagues to take up this offer, and if they refuse, to challenge them in the parliament for not taking the opportunity to give the Australian public a fair and accurate account of a critical political situation that impacts constantly on world affairs.
Attached is a copy of the letter that accompanied a briefing document (also attached) in hard copy sent to 22 members of the delegation. We think that you will find enough issues in that document to warrant any delegation’s investigation. The failure to do so would amount to a serious neglect of Australia’s responsibility as a signatory to the Fourth Geneva Convention and our moral responsibility under all humanitarian conventions and human considerations.
Co-founder and co-convener
Australians for Palestine
PO Box 2099
Hawthorn VIC 3122
Melbourne – Australia