MAPW President calls on Australia's Foreign Minister to take action on war in Gaza

July 31st, 2014

Hon Julie Bishop
Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Parliament House,

Dear Minister,

MAPW is deeply concerned about the increasing civilian deaths and injuries being caused through the indiscriminate use of force and armed conflict in Israel and Palestine.

The MAPW condemns the conduct of both the Israeli government and Hamas. Every single casualty in this three week long conflict is a tragedy. However there can be no doubt that Palestinian civilians in Gaza have borne the brunt of this war.

Despite the ongoing oppression of Palestinians and illegal occupation of Palestine by Israel, Hamas cannot be supported in its attacks on Israel. But Israel has responded with massive, disproportionate and indiscriminate use of force, resulting in the death and injury of over one thousand innocent men, women and children. The current situation of attack and counter attack, and the resulting human suffering is unacceptable.

MAPW condemns flagrant breaches of international humanitarian law including indiscriminate and disproportionate use of lethal force, indiscriminate targeting of civilians, civilian infrastructure and locations where there is a high likelihood of civilian casualties. The humanitarian needs of the civilian population are paramount in international law and must always be respected and provided for irrespective of military arguments. Anything less constitutes a war crime.

International law also demands that medical professionals providing treatment to the victims of this war are able to work without the threat of violence and are able to access the essential medical supplies they require at all times. This includes medical supplies and pharmaceuticals, clean water, power & food.

We urge you, and the Australian government to reconsider your overt and tacit support of Israel in the current conflict with the Palestinian people.

We would encourage the Australian government to emulate its courage and clarity of action surrounding the MH 17 disaster, and apply it to the current Israeli / Hamas conflict. As a nation we, have an opportunity to use our position on the security council to call for an immediate cessation of the conflict and demand forensic scrutiny of conduct of the warring parties.

We must all recognise that injury and killings will not contribute to resolution and peace, but only to ongoing conflict.

Dr Jenny Grounds | President
Medical Association for Prevention of War,
PO Box 1379 Carlton Vic 3053