Israeli soldiers came for Ridha at 2 am on 21 May 2012.
They were 25 men and women, all armed to the hilt.
Ridha, a bystander who was hit by shrapnel in the leg as an Israeli missile murdered Palestinians in a car.
Ridha, whose eldest son was shot and left to bleed to death as Israeli soldiers stopped an ambulance from coming in rescue.
Blood on stone…cold soldiers.
Israeli soldiers smeared food on walls of Weam’s two bedroom apartment after shoving her and their 5 children out on the street in the night. The bight yound Mohammed was cowered by soldiers with guns — all the children too young to be threatened so.
Israelis took their father as they had done before, and the time before that…a father still grieving for his eldest son whom Israelis had shot with their proud bullets.
What can we do to help our friends Ridha and Weam and their children?
Weam rang her brother, Khalil, who has lived here in Brisbane since the early 1970s/ Khalil then rang the Red Cross and asked for help. They could do nothing. The complaint needed to come from over there not from here, they said.
Khalil then rang me and other friends. We wrote letters to the Foreign Minister, Bob Carr. We rang the UN because Ridha works for United Nations Works and Relief Association. We rang Palestinian Rights groups, Israeli lawyers, local lawyers, Amnesty International, we got up a petition. Justice for Palestine (Brisbane) sent money because Weam’s furniture and fridge were damaged and she has no income with her husband in an Israeli jail held under ‘administrative detention’.
Khalil spoke with Senator Claire Moore who raised his concerns in the Australian parliament. Department of Foreign Affairs replied to my letter of the 24th May 2012. It read thus:
Mr Ian Curr
xx xxxx xx Street
xxxx xxxx QLD 4xxx
Dear Mr Curr
Thank you for your letter dated 24 May 2012 regarding the detention by Israeli authorities of Mr Ridha Khalid. I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator the Hon Bob Carr.
The Australian Embassy in Tel Aviv and Australian Representative Office in Ramallah have sought information about the circumstances of Mr Khalid’s arrest and detention, including from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Australian Government remains concerned about the practice of administrative detention and has consistently called on all states to honour their international obligations in relation to the treatment of prisoners. During Israel’s last appearance before the UN Universal Periodic Review Working Group, Australia questioned Israel about reported mistreatment of detainees and asked about steps to promote a culture of personal accountability, to ensure that the treatment of detainees was in accordance with international standards, and that those responsible for mistreatment were prosecuted.
Thank you for bringing your views to the attention of the Australian Government.
Levant and Iran Section
Bob Carr said that he could do no more because Ridha was not an Australian citizen.
Ridha worked driving a white UN truck delivering flour and olive oil to the needy in the camps around Nablus, but the Australian parliament will do nothing.
We breathe in, we breathe out. Ridha’s son lay bleeding, shot by Israeli soldiers, dying on the ground, with no ambulance allowed to rescue the poor son of a Palestinian aid worker who delivered flour and oil to refugees in the camps until they took him away…
As part of a boycott, divestment and sanction campaign Justice for Palestine included DFAT as one of the places we went on a walking tour.
THE SENATE CHAMBER Australian Parliament, Canberra As reported in Hansard Friday, 22 June 2012 Senator Claire Moore (Queensland): “Two weeks ago in my office I was visited by Khalil Hamdan, an Australian citizen and a good friend of our community … Continue reading →
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Yesterday I attended World Refugee Day Community Festival at Annerley Soccer Oval. I approached Red Cross, Amnesty International , 4EB, Palestinian Arts, Culture and Science Incorporation asking if they would help me with a Petition to free Ridha! by placing … Continue reading →