Just like most, you may have found yourself watching Palestinian families pulling children, both dead and those with shocking injuries, out of the rubble where their homes used to be, feeling helpless.

The tensions had been rising in occupied Palestine in the weeks prior with Israeli forces attacked worshippers in the Al-Asqa Mosque during one of the holiest weeks on the Islamic calendar. In the days prior to attacking worshippers they had destroyed the Mosques PA system impacting the traditional call to prayer. Families were being forced from their homes illegally in East Jerusalem, particularly in Sheikh Jarrah for Jewish settlers to move in. Gangs of Israeli thugs were going from home to home and marking the doors of those occupied by Palestinians for targeting in scenes reminiscent of the late 1930’s.

However, like most, you probably only saw the media coverage started when Hamas decided that innocent Palestinian families had suffered enough and made the choice to fire back. The Australian media described the bloodbath that followed as a ’conflict’, but of course, this was no more a conflict than a schoolkid walking home alone being set upon by 20 bullies with baseball bats is a conflict.

Israel says it has a right to defend itself, a right it denies Palestine. This is the equivalent of a bully being shoved back by one of his victims, and that bully getting a bunch of fellow thugs together, brutally murdering that victim, then murdering the friends the victim is with, then jumping in a car and going to the victim’s house and slaying his entire family, burning down their house and claiming they were just defending themself.

The International Criminal Court is now investigating war crimes related to the recent Israeli atrocities as well as commencing trials for previous ‘crimes against humanity’, trials that the Morrison government actually lobbied against. Human Rights Watch describes ‘Acts of Apartheid’ by the Israeli regime, and the United Nations makes finding after finding of acts that breach international law by Israel, particularly in relation to illegal settlements that see Palestinians homes, lives and livelihoods destroyed leaving them destitute so that illegal settlers can move in.

Also just like most you are probably wondering what you can do, after all, it is on the other side of the world. While the bloodshed may be distant you’d be surprised at how much of the battle is fought in Australian corridors of power. Israel cannot carry on its apartheid without the support of many other nations such as the US, the UK and Australia, it’s why Israel invests heavily in lobby groups and activities.

The only way things will change is for our elected representatives to know we will no longer accept their complicity.

Here’s a few things you can do that are easy;

Attend a rally

Recent rallies in our capital cities attracted tens of thousands of supporters of Palestinian rights. These rallies also had representatives of the Uighur community involved as well as Indigenous Australian organisations.

By contrast a pro-Israel rally in Melbourne attracted a couple of hundred of revellers there to support and celebrate Israel’s system of apartheid and the death of so many children. These supporters included Labor MP’s Mark Dreyfuss and Josh Burns whose support of the destruction found them in agreeance with Tim Smith.

Sign a petition

Most petitions will just put you on a political party or lobby group mailing list, however there is currently a petition being hosted by the Australian Parliament which means you won’t be flooded with the usual spam, despite what Peta Credlin reckons.

You can sign it here.

The petition is asking if the public would like to see Australia put sanctions on Israel which include things like an arms embargo, suspension of defence cooperation, a ban on all goods from illegal settlements entering Australia, and to prevent Australian investment in illegal settlements.

This petition provides a unique opportunity to tell the Australian parliament directly that you want Israel held to account for their crimes.

Spend Ethically

It’s crucial that we don’t financially support apartheid and that’s why it’s vital that people don’t purchase products and brands that provide support to the Israeli regime.

The BDS Movement (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) has comprehensive lists of companies to boycott both in Australia and abroad.

Some of those brands include Elbit Systems, HP, AXA, Puma, Caterpillar, JCB, Volvo and Barclays Bank.

There are some, including some politicians, who claim that BDS is antisemitic. These are desperate and baseless claims. Australians would be aware we imposed sanctions on South Africa to protest apartheid, some would also remember the boycott of French goods during their government’s nuclear testing in the South Pacific and the bombing of Greenpeace’s Rainbow Warrior ship in New Zealand.

Ironically some of the politicians accusing the BDS movement of racism are the same politicians seeking sanctions and boycotts of various products and brands from China.

Avoid barcodes starting with 729

Change of union

Unions claim to speak for members, so when they speak for us at Labor conferences and their delegates vote on our behalf it is important that on matters as crucial as human rights and apartheid that your union does not support an apartheid regime.

You might think no union would support Israel’s behavior, but you’d be surprised.

The AWU (Australian Workers Union) is a huge pro-Israel force within the Labor Party and are the backers of several pro-Israel MP’s and Senators. Any AWU members who oppose apartheid I would strongly recommend changing to a union that supports human rights as well as workers’ rights, such as the UWU (United Workers Union).

Other unions that have supported apartheid are the TWU, the SDA, and the Victoria Branch of the HWU.

The number of delegates is determined by membership numbers, so ensure your membership counts towards human rights, not supporting apartheid.

 Get active on social media

When Benjamin Netanyahu starts complaining about Twitter you know it’s having an impact.

There are Australian groups that you can follow on Facebook and Twitter to help spread the word. Groups like APAN, BDS Australia and Progressives for Palestine keep followers up to date on actions that can be taken that make a real difference.

The New York Times recently covered their front page with the faces of some of the Palestinian children Israel killed in their ‘guided’ missile campaign.

They were just children

Despite what defenders of Israeli apartheid say, it’s not complicated. There is nothing complicated about wanting Palestinians to live full lives free from the fear of oppression.

Australia prides itself on supporting a “rules based order” system of government, while its support of Israel confirms the exact opposite.

I’d rather act for a positive change than stand by idly while children die.

How about you?

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