MEDIA RELEASE Australian Government demonstrates double standards over Israel FOREIGN minister Bob Carr recently expelled Syrian diplomats because of human rights abuses in their country. Yet the Israeli defence force and Israeli settlers shoot, abduct, detain and torture Palestinians in the occupied territories on a daily basis. The Israeli government destroys Palestinian homes on the West Bank. On 21 May 2012 an Australian citizen, Khalil Hamdan, received a call from his sister Weam in Nablus. “My sister was distraught because 25- 30 Israeli soldiers broke into her small two bedroom unit at 3am in the Camp No.1 refugee camp in Nablus, Palestine,” Mr Hamdan said. “She is the wife of Ridha Khalid and the mother of five children aged 5 to 18 years. Ridha is employed by United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in Nablus.” “The soldiers smashed the door down and took Ridha away for no reason and took him to Huwarra prison outside of Nablus. After they took him away, they asked my sister, Weam, to get out of the unit with her children. “They proceeded to destroy everything in their unit: furniture, electrical appliances including the children’s computer; the children’s school books. “Naturally all the children were traumatised and they were mindful of their imminent school examinations.” The soldiers took the food from the pantry, freezer and refrigerator and spread it all over the furniture and floor. They removed all the pictures from wall and smashed them. Weam is aged fifty years. “She is a good woman and cared for her aged parents and her two handicapped brothers since she was a young teenager. She is a good wife, caring mother and kind to her friends and has never been in any trouble. “Weam was born in the Refugee camp. The destruction of the contents of her unit was completely unjust. Her frugal savings and furniture were gone in 2.1/2 hours.” Weam’s husband Ridha distributes aid throughout the West Bank. The Australian Government will contribute $90M to UNRWA over the next three years. Ridha has been taken before and tortured. In 2001 he spent 18 months in detention without charge. His 17 year old son was shot dead and Ridha has been the victim of an Israeli rocket attack. He now is on hunger strike in Huwarra prison near Nablus. Weam is concerned for the future of her husband and their family. I, Khalil Hamdan, call on the Foreign Minister to seek the immediate release of Ridha and compensation for loss of property and savings taken from Weam’s unit. I want an independent medical examination of Ridha. “The Australian government is obliged to act because: 1. I’m an Australian citizen and my family has been attacked. 2. My brother-in-law works for United Nations Relief and Works Agency. The Australian government provides funds to UNRWA. 3. The Australian government is signatory to international agreements that outlaw the abduction and torture of civilians. 4. My sister’s property has been damaged and money stolen. 5. The Australian Government has acted to prevent human rights abuses across the border in Syria but not in the occupied territories. Khalil Hamdan, his mother, father and siblings were driven out of their village in Jaffa in 1948. They fled to Nablus where Weam was born in 1962. “As a result of the 6-day war in 1967 I was made a refugee for a second time and sought a new life in Australia” Mr Hamdan said.” “I want an end to the occupation and the right to return to my village. I am one of 5 million Palestinian refugees and their descendants. We all want justice.” I, Khalil Hamdan, can be contacted at 0438 194 342 Continue reading
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