Hundreds of Australian artists, academics call for halt to Israel's annexation plans

Hundreds of Australian artists, academics call for halt to Israel's annexation plans
More than 700 Australian academics and artists have signed a letter calling on Canberra to publicly oppose Israeli plans to annex large parts of the West Bank.
2 min read
06 July, 2020
Comedian Aamer Rahman is among the signatories [Getty]
Hundreds of Australian academics, writers, and creatives have condemned Israel's plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank.

To date, 769 people have signed an open letter which condemns the Australian government for its "complicity in enabling the Israeli state to suppress the aspiration of the Palestinian people to self-determination".

Last month, Australia was one of only two countries to vote against a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning the proposed Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank.

The strongly worded letter calls on the Australian government to "publicly oppose the Israeli government's annexation plans and cease greenlighting Israel's violations of human rights and fundamental principles of international law".

Among the letters' signatories are comedian Aamer Rahman, poet Omar Sakr, activist Khadija Gbla, hip-hop artist L-FRESH The LION, filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta, author Randa Abdel-Fattah and writer Elias Jahshan.

Jahshan and Abdel-Fattah are contributors to The New Arab.

"Israel's annexation plan will cement the apartheid reality that currently exists," the letter reads.

"It confines Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza within 115 bantustans that are physically, economically, socially, and politically cut off from each other."
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The Israeli state, "created on stolen land", has "subjected Palestinians to land confiscation, ethnic cleansing, forcible population transfer, home demolitions, settler violence, severe and discriminatory restrictions on their right to freedom of movement, excessive use of force, torture, and a racist legal system", it adds.

"From Minneapolis to Jerusalem to Gadigal [an indigenous Australian people's] land, all sites of recent state-sanctioned violence, we affirm the critical ongoing and historic solidarities between different movements against systemic and institutionalised state violence, systemic oppression, and brutality."

The Israeli government has publicly stated plans to annex most Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank - which are considered illegal under international law - and the Jordan Valley, a fertile and strategic strip of land located on the border with Jordan.

The annexation plan - widely considered to be a violation of international law - has been widely opposed by much of the international community but supported by the Trump administration, whose peace plan was drawn up without Palestinian input. 

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