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81% of Australians support a ceasefire in Gaza

As opposition to Israel’s war against Hamas grows in Australia, relations between Jews and Muslims hit a new low when the Islamic Council of Victoria's president described the October 7 massacre as ‘legitimate resistance’.
TJI Wrap
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Man wearing keffiyah at a microphone

ICV president Adel Salman speaks at a pro-Palestinian rally in Melbourne in December (ICV)

Published: 29 February 2024

Last updated: 21 March 2024

As opposition to Israel’s war against Hamas grows in Australia, relations between Jews and Muslims hit a new low when the Islamic Council of Victoria's president described the October 7 massacre as ‘legitimate resistance’.

Four in five Australians are in favour of a ceasefire in Gaza and 53% want the Australian government to take more action to achieve that goal, new polling has found.

The number of people in favour of a ceasefire has increased by almost 30% since a similar poll was conducted in November.

Humanitarian agencies including Plan International Australia, Oxfam Australia, Caritas Australia, Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, ActionAid Australia and Baptist World Aid commissioned the poll to highlight the massive concern in the Australian community about the war in Gaza.

The poll found support for a ceasefire is high across the political spectrum, and that the Gaza crisis remains an issue of deep concern, with almost one in three (30%) saying they would take it into consideration when deciding their vote at the next federal election.

The poll revealed stronger support for a ceasefire among younger people and Labor voters.

  • 89% of Labor voters support a ceasefire, with 62% supporting more government action;
  • 74% of Coalition voters are in favour of a ceasefire, with 45% supporting more action;
  • support for more action from the Australian government is higher among younger people, with 61% of 18-34 year-olds wanting the government to do more.

Caritas Australia CEO Kirsty Robertson said a ceasefire was essential to countering the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. “We now have a population of 2.2 million, half of which are under the age of 15, facing the worst food crisis in the world. The scale of humanitarian assistance required to prevent further loss of life cannot be administered without a ceasefire.”

Islamic Council president backs October 7 massacre

Relations between Jews and Muslims in Australia reached a new low this week when Islamic Council of Victoria (ICV) president Adel Salman refused to condemn Hamas’ October 7 massacre.

Salman was being interviewed on ABC RN Breakfast on Wednesday morning, explaining why his organisation had asked the Victorian government to cancel an official Iftar event. He said given the horrific and ongoing loss of life in Gaza, the ICV didn’t think it was the right time for a celebratory dinner.

Pushing the case for the Australian government to take stronger action against Israel, Salman compared the war in Gaza to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

When Karvelas pointed out that the two conflicts weren’t comparable, as Israel’s actions were a response to the atrocities of October 7 that killed 1200 Israelis, Salman described the events of that day as “legitimate resistance”.

Salman: “Clearly, if there were crimes committed by the October 7 attackers and the Palestinians who did launch that attack on October 7, clearly they have to also be held to account. But you need to look at the historical context.

“We are talking about 75 years of occupation and we are talking about 16 years of the siege of Gaza. Israel through that siege of Gaza are actually occupying Gaza, because they determine what comes in, what comes out.

We need to understand that the Palestinians have a right to resist. It has to be legitimate resistance, it can’t just be wanton violence.”

Karvelas: “This isn’t a legitimate case of resistance, is it?″

Salman: “It is absolutely legitimate for the Palestinians to try to break this siege of Gaza, which is a form of occupation.”

Karvelas: “I am talking about October 7.”

Salman: “I am not going to condemn the Palestinians for resisting. I am not going to condemn Palestinians for trying to break the siege on their territory.”

Later in the interview, Salman added: “We denounce any violence and killing of civilians. What we don’t denounce, very clearly, is legitimate acts of resistance and for the Palestinians to rise up on October 7 and say we are no longer going to tolerate this siege, this occupation, that is legitimate.”

The Jewish Community Council of Victoria (JCCV) expressed alarm at Salman’s statement and called on the ICV to distance itself from his words.

“Standing up against terrorism, such as that which took place on October 7 in Israel, is an Australian value. Australians do not condone terrorism,” the JCCV statement said.

On Wednesday afternoon the ICV released a statement saying Salman’s comments “must not be read as legitimating the killing of innocent civilians”.

But it backed the tenor of the comments, adding, “October 7 did not happen out of nowhere. Israel has regularly bombed Gaza civilians and destroying (sic) homes for many years. Israel has imposed a siege on Gaza ever since its forces left Gaza 16 years ago… According to international law, this means that Israel’s occupation of Gaza continues. The ICV condemns the genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories.”


Ceasefire survey report (Oxfam Australia)

Boycott of premier's Iftar dinner (ABC RN)

Muslim leader’s ‘legitimate resistance’ call exposes growing gulf (SMH)

Australians do not condone terrorism (JCCV)

Statement regarding ABC radio interview comments


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