Australia’s UN Peacemakers – Just Peace?

The Australian government sends out peacekeepers under UN charter to war zones. This contribution by Australia is ranked second in the top ten nations that provide support.

Michael Murray from the Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association gave the following welcome in Anzac Square in Brisbane /Meanjin at the Australia Peacekeepers annual celebration organised by the United Nations Association of Australia. His welcome speech was given on 28th May 2022 before the governor of Queensland, Jeanette Young, to a crowd of peacekeepers, military, united nations community of ambassadors, consuls and volunteers from India, Rwanda, Turkey, Cyprus, Indonesia, Portugal, Japan and the Queensland Country Women’s Association.

Michael Murray mentions that the UN Truce Supervising Organisation was ‘to monitor the armistice between Israel and Arabian neighbors’. Peacekeeper Lt Kristy Miles later gave her recollections of a Palestinian mother trying to feed her baby in the Gaza strip under occupation by Israel. Yet the Australian government withdrew funding from Union Aid Abroad that runs projects with the Ma’an development centre in Gaza to assist farmers grow fresh fruit and vegetables. The Australian government and its cohorts made up a cock-and-bull story that Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) money was going to terrorists. Quite the contrary the money was spent to assist farmers to earn money by the growing of eggplant, capsicums, zucchinis etc and to supply them to a hungry population consistently under fire for the past 16 years since Hamas won the elections in Gaza. The agricultural purpose of the aid money was verified after extensive investigations but the Australian government persists in its withdrawal of aid funds.

Where do these fake stories about human rights groups being terrorist organisations come from? The apartheid state of Israel, of course. In October 2021, Israel declared six Palestinian organizations as being terrorist: Addameer, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International – Palestine, the Union of Agricultural Work Committees, the Bisan Center for Research and Development, and the Union of Palestinian Women Committees. Among the communities that they work with are Palestinian women and girls, children, peasant families, prisoners and civil society activists, all of whom face increased levels of discrimination and violence. Regardless of persuasion, Australian governments are in lockstep with the apartheid state of Israel, de-funding human rights groups.

We should not forget that the Gaza strip is regularly bombed by the Israeli airforce and over 36,000 Palestinians have been shot by Israeli occupation forces since the beginning of the March of Return in 2018. Those maimed and killed include children, medics and journalists.

People need to ask what kind of peacekeeping operation this is when UNWRA schools have been bombed in Gaza with Israel deploying phosphorus shells (pictured).

Israel used phosphorous on Palestinians in Gaza in 2009/10

Michael mentioned the deployment of Australian peacekeepers under UN charter to Jakarta in 1947 when Indonesia was a dutch colony. Also the International Force East Timor (INTERFET) led by Australia’s Major General Cosgrove to address ‘the humanitarian and security crisis that took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of UN peacekeepers‘.

I am curious as to what the peacekeeping role of these military and police officers and were they qualified to undertake such a role given torture allegations against soldiers under his command in East Timor in 1999.

Was INTERFET there to preserve the peace and to protect the Timorese people or was it to serve Australian interests in the region? How effective were they in saving lives and protecting the sovereign interests of the Timorese people especially given the fraud perpetrated by the Australian government in its treaty with Indonesia over oil and gas in the Timor Sea? (see The Timor Gap fraud ).

This is what former peacekeeper Michael Murray had to say in his welcome speech and in closing.

Ian Curr,
31 May 2022.

__oOo__

Your Excellency, distinguished guests, fellow peacekeepers, ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys. Welcome to 2022 International Day of the United Nations peacekeepers.

On the 29th of May 1948, the UN Security Council authorized the deployment of UN observers to the Middle East to form the United Nations truce supervisation (sic) organization or the UN TSO. The purpose of the UN TSO was to monitor the armistice between Israel and Arabian neighbors, the UN TSO remains in place with a slightly expanded mandate. This activity is universally recognized as the first peacekeeping mission established by the United Nations. And it is for this reason, each year, we pause to commemorate the international day of United Nations peacekeepers.

Since the 29th of May, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 UN peacekeeping operations. And today, we also pause to remember the 4200 peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the service of peace.

However, 2022 has a special significance for Australian pacemakers. Because the year before in September 1947, Australia deployed four (4) Australian Defence personnel based at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. These four officers were deployed to the Dutch East Indies to act as observers for the United Nations in the United Nation, good officers committee or the UN goal.

So we are very proud of this fact that this year 2022 is the 75th anniversary of Australian peacekeepers participating in UN peacekeeping operations.

Since 1947, Australia has deployed women and men to over 62 UN peacekeeping missions, and sadly, 14 Australians have lost their lives in the service of peace.

At this moment in time, Australia has women and men from the Australian Defence Force, the Australian Federal Police, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and other government non-government departments deployed on operations ranging from nearby in the Pacific, to Sudan, Korea and the Middle East. I thank you for your attention.

(Applause)
Later in the proceedings …

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.”


Last Post and Reveille (trumpet)

Michael Murray
Australian Peacekeepers and Peacemakers Veterans Association
28 May 2022

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