Fatima Payman labels Israel’s strike on Rafah ‘deplorable’ and calls on government to cease trade | Israel-Gaza war

Labor senator Fatima Payman has denounced Israel’s attack on a displaced person’s camp in Rafah as “appalling”, urging her own government to cease trade with Israel and acknowledge a Palestinian state. Payman is the first government official to publicly express outrage over the attack on Rafah’s Tal al-Sultan neighborhood in southern Gaza. According to Palestinian medical personnel, at least 35 individuals lost their lives.

Footage from Sunday’s airstrike site in Rafah showed significant devastation, burning structures, and civilians rummaging through ruins. The Israeli military stated its air force targeted a Hamas compound and that the strike was executed using “precision ammunition and based on precise intelligence”.

The IDF claimed it had eliminated Hamas’s chief of staff for the West Bank and another high-ranking official responsible for deadly assaults on Israelis, adding it was “aware of reports suggesting that several civilians in the vicinity were harmed due to the strike and subsequent fire. The event is under investigation.”

A representative from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society indicated that the death toll might increase as search and rescue operations proceeded. The society noted the location had been designated as a “humanitarian area” by Israel and was excluded from areas the Israeli military had previously instructed people to evacuate this month.

In a post shared on her X, Facebook, and Instagram profiles, Payman wrote: “This is appalling.”

“We must demand an end to this genocide, terminate all trade, divest, and recognize a Palestinian state.”

Payman also alluded to alleged atrocities from a widely circulated video, which Guardian Australia has not independently corroborated.

A government representative remarked: “Reports of civilian deaths in Rafah following an Israeli strike in retaliation for a Hamas rocket assault are deeply troubling.”

“These incidents highlight the urgent need for a humanitarian ceasefire to protect civilians. Hostages must be liberated and aid increased.”

The foreign minister, Penny Wong’s office, and Payman’s office were approached for comments.

Days earlier, the shadow defense minister, Andrew Hastie, accused pro-Palestinian supporters of “providing cover” for Hamas and denounced the “distorted morality” of the international criminal court in a heated address to his followers.

Hastie stated the opposition would not allow pro-Palestinian supporters to dismantle Australia’s “finely woven social fabric with their imported violence” in a newsletter on Friday evening.

The Western Australian Liberal MP and former special forces leader referred to pro-Palestinian supporters as “Little Sennacheribs” in a biblical reference to the ancient Assyrian king, Sennacherib, whose army was annihilated by an angel of death as it attempted to seize Jerusalem.

Is Australia exporting weapons to Israel? – video

Hastie accused student activists and celebrities on red carpets who had endorsed the Palestinian cause of “deceiving those who oppose antisemitism”.

skip past newsletter promotionOur Australian morning briefing breaks down the key stories of the day, telling you what’s happening and why it mattersPrivacy Notice: Newsletters may contain info about charities, online ads, and content funded by outside parties. For more information see our Privacy Policy. We use Google reCaptcha to protect our website and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.after newsletter promotion

“Little Sennacheribs are besieging Jewish Australians in our institutions; their student armies encamped in our universities. They are lining up on the red carpet, winking indirect support for Hamas. They flip the narrative, and deceive those who stand against antisemitism,” Hastie’s newsletter stated.

“Meanwhile, our prime minister, Anthony Albanese, walks right past and declares no opinion on these Little Sennacheribs, and their animosity towards our fellow Australians.”

Last week, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, sought warrants for the arrest of five individuals – Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli defense minister, Yoav Gallant, and Hamas leaders Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh – in connection with incidents in Gaza and Israel after Hamas’s October 7 attacks.

The Albanese administration’s reaction so far has been not to comment while it waits for the ICC to decide on whether to issue the arrest warrants. The opposition’s reaction, however, has been to accuse the international court of establishing a “moral parity” between Israel and the militant group Hamas, and to threaten withdrawal from the Rome Statute.

The shadow defense minister described Khan’s declaration as “distorted morality reaching its peak”.

“Only someone dazed by the lavish opulence of The Hague could devise such a narrative twist,” the newsletter added.

“I have no confidence in the ICC. And if this is their method of applying international law, I want them nowhere near our Australian forces. But in the Coalition, we won’t tolerate this manner of conduct.”

Human rights organizations have addressed letters to Albanese, Wong, and the attorney general, Mark Dreyfus, urging them to condemn Dutton and the opposition’s criticisms of the ICC.

In a communication sent on Monday, the Australian Centre for International Justice, Human Rights Law Centre, and Amnesty International stated Dutton’s threats “undermine Australia’s dedication to international law and encourage a culture of impunity”.

Leave a Comment