Dear Malcolm Turnbull,

I was disappointed to learn of your recent attack on the Rudd Government’s small – yet significant – shift in stance on Palestine in the UN.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports: “Opposition Leader, Malcolm Turnbull, criticized the Government for supporting resolutions which contained “grave allegations” about Israeli actions.”

Mr Turnbull, I had (perhaps naively) imagined you a man of principle, willing to stand up for human rights and fair play.

Now it appears you cast principle to the wind for tawdry political advantage.

Do you seriously believe that ‘grave allegations’ about Israeli actions are unmerited?

If so, here are some things you should know.

The website If Only Americans Knew keeps a succinct, well-documented score-sheet on its homepage. It gives a factually-based overview of Palestinian and Israeli suffering in recent years.

The statistics are clear. There is a huge disparity. It is the Palestinians who are by far the greater victims, while Israelis are the principal aggressors.

I need hardly remind you that all people are people. All people have human rights. That includes Palestinians.

The suffering of an Israeli Jew is not worth more than the suffering of a Palestinian. Is it?

Why help bolster blatant falsehoods, such as:

  • responsibility for conflict rests mainly with the Palestinians
  • Israeli suffering is the biggest problem
  • Israel’s behaviour is essentially blameless?

Regarding the Israeli settlements, they are illegal under international law and have been illegal ever since construction commenced. Surely you know that already?

If not, I suggest you obtain a copy of Francis Boyle’s Using International Law to clarify and resolve the Israeli / Palestinian conflict. Boyle’s detaied duscussion will supplement this brief apraisal from If Only Americans Knew:

International humanitarian law prohibits [an] occupying power [from transferring] citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49). The Hague Regulations prohibit the occupying power [from undertaking] permanent changes in the occupied area, unless these are due to military needs in the narrow sense of the term, or unless they are undertaken for the benefit of the local population.

It is abundantly clear to any fair observer that Israel has indeed been conducting violations of human rights in the occupied Territories, repeatedly and for many years. Israel’s illegal settlements program continues apace. Life for Palestinians continues to deteriorate into a kind of living hell within ever more isolated Bantustan-type settlements. Within pre-1967 Israel, Arab Israeli-nationals suffer discrimination and are far from equal citizens under the law.

Why does Australia support a system in the Holy Land that Bishop Tutu has described as “in some respects worse than apartheid”? (He was referring at the time to the regular Israeli practice of collective punishment, which is a blatant war crime) .

Who do you support this, Mr Turnbull?

Can you please, please explain why?

The Rudd Government’s very slight shift in stance towards a sightly more balanced and even-handed approach to the middle east in Austraia’s foreign policy should not be hard to greet with bipartisan approval.

Instead, you added your weight to the Zionist State’s arrogant repudiation of international norms of civilized behaviour.

That is shameful.

I would appreciate a detailed response justifying your stance.

Even more than that, I’d welcome balance and fairness from now on in the approach that you – and the Government – adopt to the ongoing tragedy of Palestine.

Regards

Syd Waker
Kuranda
Queensland