Australia’s rebuke of international justice in Palestine 

"no one is illegal"
Alisha Lynch

5th May 2021



The International Criminal Court (ICC) investigates and, where applicable, prosecutes those accused of the world’s most severe crimes. As stated on their website, this is a“court of last resort”and one that works respectively with national courts. The ongoing Israeli–Palestinian conflict has been subject to this court for the Israeli government’s continuation of imposing extreme andconfining restrictionson Palestinian human rights. They have continued to restrict the movement of people and goods in and out of the Gaza Strip, and are facilitating the illegal transfer of Israeli citizens to settlements in the occupied West Bank. 


In February, the International Criminal Court issued a landmark judgement stating that the prosecutor of the court has the authority to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity in Palestine. What was surprising about this trial was the statement made by Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne, stating;“Australia has deep concerns with the ruling of the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court” and the court“should not exercise jurisdiction in this matter.”  Australia is a member of the ICC andclaims to advocate  for  humanrights. Just the month before, Australia condemned China fortheirabuses against Muslim minorities in China’s Xinjiang region. So why is Australia overlooking the human rights abuses in Palestine?Australia’s rebukeof international justice inPalestineis not really abouthuman rights but more of a geopolitical stance. Australia has consistently supported Israel in its decisions, but why are they so quick to defend them? 


“Unsurprisingly, Australia is an ally of the United States of America, which has been a firm supporter of Israel since the 1960s. The United States of America has prioritized the continuation of a close and supportive Israel–United States relationship. Support for Israel is nearly unconditional for the US government and remains a vital issue in domestic US politics.”

Also, Australia does not recognise the‘State of Palestine’which was part of Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s statement. Another reason is the growing tension between China and Australia causedbythetrade conflict between the two countries and most recently Australia criticising the horrific treatment of Uighur Muslims in China. Nevertheless, Australia cannot be called a supporter of  human rights if they are trying to block international justice for Palestinians, anindigenous group within the West Bank. This begs the question: is Australias defence of Israel a result of bothsettler statesdispossessingtheir indigenous populations? Australias alarming stance and supportofthe Israel government has shown that theircontinuing  and condoning behaviouris  segregating indigenous people from the wider population. Furthermore, it shows that thisnationhas yet to come to terms with its own history. 


Australia is home to around 15,000 Israelis and also has many pro-Israelipressure groups. One of these groups is called the Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA), which was established in the year 1927, in Melbourne. Although the lobby in the United States is most aggressive, Australia beingan ally,is seeing pressure from these groups and some Australian politicians like Melissa Parke havebeen falsely accused of antisemitism by groups like the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).Thefalse accusation ofpoliticianshas been utilised as aweaponof toutedanti-discriminationby those who do not recognise Palestine.Is this  weaponization silencing people, especially government officials, from speaking out against Israel’s actions? 


Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne’s  statement shows  that the country has much to overcome and, most of all, Australia’s rebuke of international justice for Palestine is dangerous. For years Palestinians havebeensubject toseverecrimesand now,in the wake of a pandemic, Palestinians are victims of a vaccine segregation effort made by the Israeli government. The ICC’sjudgement to investigate Israels oppressive actions is now allowing for hope and justice. Australia claims it is an advocate for human rights, but  its  stance on Palestine shows otherwise. Australia is using this as a progression of geopolitics, where instead this should be about the safety of real people and showing supportforthe ICCs decision to bring warcriminalsto justice.






Featured photo by Mike Guziuk on Unsplash



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