The Guardian • Issue #2079


  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2079

Divisions emerge: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, like number of other western leaders, is turning a blind eye to Israel’s war crimes in Gaza. Hundreds of EU staffers wrote a letter circulating within among diplomats and staffers at the Commission and other EU bodies saying the EU is giving a “free hand to the acceleration and legitimacy of a war crime in the Gaza Strip.” The letter opens with a strong condemnation of Hamas’ attack on Israel and follows with an equally strong condemnation of “the disproportionate reaction by the Israeli government against 2.3 million Palestinian civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip.” It accuses von der Leyen of double standards. Josh Paul, the State Department official who signs off on US arms transfers to foreign countries, resigned his post in protest, saying the “provision of lethal arms to Israel” does more harm than good.

In Australia, divisions are emerging within Labor ranks with Anne Aly and Ed Husic amongst federal Labor MPs who have refused to fall in behind the “right of Israel to defend itself” line. The collective punishment of 2.3 million people has nothing to do with self-defence. Labor Senator Fatima Payman, an Afghan-born Muslim, said “Israeli missiles strike residential dwellings, civilians, multi-storey apartments, health facilities, as well as places of worship, indiscriminately killing men, women, and children. We must condemn it. The price tag of Israel’s right to defend itself cannot be the destruction of Palestine. Israel’s right to defend its civilians cannot equate to the annihilation of Palestinian civilians.” A quarter of NSW Labor MPs have declared their support for Palestine, despite Premier Chris Minns’ unqualified support for Israel. Greens MPs have come out strongly in support of the Palestinian people.

COP-OUT OF THE WEEK: The failure of the Albanese government to take the necessary measures to address the escalating threat to the planet of climate change is in sharp contrast to the growing actions in the wider community. Vets for Climate Action is calling on the government to address the cause of those fires by strengthening Australia’s environment law. With parts of Australia already experiencing bushfires ahead of summer, the federal government has, this week, given 25 species a higher level of protection due to the impact of fires. But Australia’s environment law does not yet directly address climate change, which is increasing the frequency and severity of bushfires that impact our wildlife and the environments they live in. Conservation vet Dr Zali Brookes said: “It’s clear that climate change is posing a grave threat to Australian wildlife, with even more species being added to the endangered species list. Australia already has the worst mammal extinction rate in the world, and I’m concerned that our record will only get worse if our federal environment laws are not strengthened to protect our precious wildlife from the impacts of climate change. In my work, particularly over the past 14 years, including providing a critical response during the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009, I’ve witnessed the needless suffering and heart-breaking loss of our wildlife due to the effects of climate change, through catastrophic floods, fires and the increased incidence of disease. Along with the destruction of habitat, these events contribute to the precipitous decline in our biodiversity.”

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