“The tragic killing of Australian aid worker Lalzawmi ‘Zomi’ Frankcom, along with six of her colleagues, in Gaza a few days ago has rightly drawn the criticism of the Australian government even though initial reports are that it was accidental,” said co-founders of the Indigenous Friends of Israel, Norman and Barbara Miller. 

“However, the anger expressed by Prime Minister Albanese and Foreign Minister Wong to Israel immediately re Zomi was not there when an Australian Jewish grandmother, Galit Cabone was killed. She was among the 1269 people, mostly Israeli civilians, including Arab Muslims, and other nationalities, massacred by Hamas on October 7. As well, about 240 hostages were brutally abducted and taken to Gaza.

“The Australian government expressed condolences to Cabone’s family and condemned the October 7 attack but did not quickly respond with a phone call of complaint to Palestinian authorities. Nor is there evidence that there was a phone call or a call for accountability at all. There is no record that the Australian woman’s death was taken up by Penny Wong with Palestinian officials on her belated visit many months later.

“This would seem highly differential even biased treatment by the Australian government for the loss of life of two innocent Australian women in what was a peaceful kibbutz by Galit and a war zone by Zomi. 

“Actions by all parties in a war should be examined for war crimes and the actions by Hamas, including 15 UNRWA staff, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Palestinian civilians who took part in October 7 should be tried for war crimes. UNRWA should also be held accountable for its funding and infrastructure support for that attack.

“Similarly, Israel needs to be held account for its actions in its war of self-defence against Hamas and other terrorist groups after Hamas broke the ceasefire on October 7. Israel has accepted responsibility for the death of the seven aid workers and has commenced an investigation into this distressing incident. As Hamas disguises itself as civilians, we don’t know if this incident was a case of mistaken identity though that is possible as Israel has a policy of not targeting civilians.

“News media reported that Israel’s ambassador to Australia, Amir Maimon, would be “hauled” in to explain. This is a disrespectful way of describing such a meeting. We can find no record of the Australian government calling in a Palestinian official in to explain October 7 or the death of Galit Cabone. Where is the equal treatment here?”

“With regard to Australia changing direction as a result of the incident with the aid workers, Australia’s stated support for Israel’s right to defend itself, is undermined by its restoration of funding to UNRWA before the investigation into its use of funds is finalized. We know Australian aid money supports the terrorist organisation Hamas and has done for many years.

“We are appalled at the loss of life of civilians in Gaza as reported by the Hamas-run health authority and know that this does not distinguish between combatants and civilians and that Hamas embeds itself in civilian infrastructure like hospitals, schools etc. to protect itself and drive up casualties to successfully turn world opinion against Israel.

“We understand the calls for a ceasefire but there have been a number of deals on the table for some weeks. It is Hamas that is saying no to the ceasefire not Israel, contrary to some media reports. If Hamas returned all the hostages, including those it killed or who died in captivity, then no doubt a 6-week ceasefire could be achieved. 

“For a permanent ceasefire, Palestinians need to accept that the Jewish people are the Indigenous people of Israel and have the right to live in their ancient historic homeland of 4,000 years and stop their genocidal attempt to remove all Jews from Israel. Also, Hamas must be held to account for October 7 and a government in Gaza needs to be established that will look after the Palestinians not use them as canon fodder and a bank to feather their own nests while they live in luxury in Qatar.”


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