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Australia’s Greens Party walks out of session in pro-Palestine protest

During a Senate session in Australia, the Greens Party walked out in protest of the government’s inaction over the war on Gaza, right after the deputy leader Mehreen Faruqi, said the Labor’s “weasel words are not going to stop war crimes” by “Israel” and shouted “free, free Palestine.”

That happened shortly after Faruqi questioned the trade minister, Don Farrell, regarding Australia “shamefully” abstaining from the UN’s resolution for a ceasefire which the government called “incomplete”.

Farrell responded that Australia “affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself after that horrific attack” but argued that the Foreign Minister, Penny Wong, noted that it “mattered” how “Israel” has the right to self-defense by abiding by international law.

The Greens senator David Shoebridge interrupted by announcing that it is not actually doing so.

Faruqi accused the Coalition of being “morally bankrupt” on Palestine, calling the Labor Party members “heartless, gutless cowards”.

“You are watching the massacre of thousands of Palestinians by Israel, and you are not condemning Israel, you refuse to call for an immediate ceasefire,” she said, adding,

We are not going to sit here and watch you pat yourselves on the back for doing absolutely nothing. Weasel words are not going to stop war crimes… Today we bring the people’s protest into parliament—free, free Palestine.

The Greens’ 11 senators exited the session together, while Senator Janet Rice held a Palestinian flag.

‘Despicable’ Farrell

Farrell relayed to the Senate that he “completely rejects” Faruqi’s allegations after describing the Israeli attacks on Gaza as the “consequences” of the “unjustified, illegal” Hamas attacks and continued to call out political parties for “making hay” over the situation which would not “advance the position in Australia.”

Faruqi later called Farrell’s comments “disgraceful” and “despicable”.

Foreign Minister Wong renewed calls for an international effort to find a  so-called “two-state solution” to end the violence as she believed that “Israel” can only find peace if it can do the same for Palestine.

In a piece for The Guardian Australia, Wong wrote, “Like Australia, Israel is a democratic nation state, pledged to the rule of law,” adding:

The standards democracies seek and accept are high. That means Israel must observe international law and the rules of war… So when Israel’s friends urge Israel to exercise restraint and protect civilian lives, it is critical that Israel listens.

It matters for innocent civilians, who should not pay for horrors perpetrated by Hamas. And it matters for Israel’s own security, which faces grave risk if conflict spreads. The international community will not accept ongoing civilian deaths.

Last week, Australian Defense Minister Richard Marles confirmed that Australia is deploying a “significant contingent” of troops and aircraft to the Middle East, with plans for additional troops and two military transport planes to join the Australian Army in the region.

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