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Pressure mounts on Australia to call for Gaza ceasefire, Greens boycott question time after labor rejects ceasefire call on Gaza

Pressure mounts on Australia to call for Gaza ceasefire, Greens boycott question time after labor rejects ceasefire call on Gaza

CANBERRA (AAP) – Pressure is mounting for the Australian government to call for a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip as the civilian death toll mounts.

Today in Australia Parliament the Labor Government again refused to support a call from the Greens for an immediate ceasefire to protect innocent civilians in Gaza amid a soaring civilian death toll.

READ MOREBlinken meets Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank in the latest stop on his diplomat push on the Israel-Hamas war

In Question Time today the Greens asked Labor to back the United Nations call for a ceasefire, following Labor’s refusal, all Australian Greens Senators exited in protest.

The Australian Greens have condemned the hostage-taking and killing of innocent civilians by Hamas and by the state of Israel.

Senator Mehreen Faruqi is Deputy Leader of the Australian Greens and led the call for a ceasefire and subsequent boycott of Question Time today:

“We are witnessing the State of Israel’s horrific war crimes in Gaza, with almost ten thousand massacred including more than 4000 children. The Australian Government must back the United Nations call for an immediate ceasefire.

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Senator Mehreen Faruqi says the federal government continues to shield Israel from accountability. Photo : Mick Tsikas/AAP

“Today the Australian Greens left Question Time in protest because, like millions of Australians, we have been shocked, horrified and angered by the massacre of innocent people in Gaza. It is unacceptable that the Labor government refuses to push for a ceasefire in the face of these atrocities.

“Millions are marching around the world for peace in Palestine but our Government is failing to listen and act. Today, we proudly brought the people’s protest into Parliament so that Labor can no longer ignore the call for an immediate ceasefire.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry condemned the walkout.

“They pose as pacifists but they know that a ceasefire will hand victory to Hamas and encourage more jihadism in the West,” co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said.

Federal ministers have consistently called for Israel to act within the confines of international law while reaffirming its right to defend itself.

Foreign ministers from Qatar, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates have lobbied US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to persuade Israel to agree to a ceasefire.

Pope Francis also urged a ceasefire, branding the situation in Gaza as “very grave”.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out any ceasefire until hostages were returned.

The federal government is continuing to assist 79 people in Gaza after 25 citizens and family members were able to make it out through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

Most have since returned to Australia.

No departures from Gaza have been possible in recent days, a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman confirmed after reports the Rafah crossing had been shut again.

“Australia is supporting international efforts to keep the Rafah border crossing open for humanitarian purposes, including the passage of civilians,” the spokesman said in a statement.

The Israeli army has surrounded Gaza’s main city as its invasion of the strip in search of Hamas militants continues.

Hamas, which is deemed a terrorist organization by the Australian government, killed more than 1400 Israelis and took more than 240 hostages in an attack on October 7.

The Palestinian death toll from Israel’s retaliatory strikes, which have hit refugee camps and ambulances, is nearing 10,000, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry.

Israel says 31 of its soldiers have been killed.

Palestinian human rights groups have launched legal action seeking records of weapons exports granted by Defence Minister Richard Marles since October 7.

“We are seeing the makings of a genocide unfold in front of our eyes,” Al Mezan Centre director Issam Younis said of the events in Gaza.

If Australia was “selling Israel the means to commit that genocide”, it would breach Australia’s international obligations and its arms export laws, he said.

There is “credible public information” Australian goods and technology might be being used to abate genocide specifically against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, the groups said in an affidavit seen by AAP.

Australia has approved 322 defence exports to Israel over the past six years but such exports weren’t lethal in nature and included items such as radios, body armour, software, vehicle parts and sporting equipment, defence officials have said.

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