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URGENT: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has ordered the Israeli military to prepare to evacuate civilians in Rafah, a city in the south of Gaza amid reports of an imminent ground operation. Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians are displaced in Rafah, having fled bombing in the north. A ground operation in Rafah will be catastrophic for those displaced who have nowhere to go, underscoring the urgent need for Australia to stop approving defence exports to Israel.

As the people of Gaza face relentless bombardment, death, and destruction, the Australian government must stop approving permits for defence goods to be exported to Israel. 

We do not know what arms are approved to be exported from Australia to Israel because of Australia’s opaque defence export approval process. 

Senate Estimates in February revealed that Australia has approved two permits for defence goods to be exported to Israel since 7 October. Australia has approved 322 permits since 2017, raising questions around Foreign Minister Wong and the Department of Defence’s assertion that “Australia has not supplied weapons to Israel since the conflict began, and for at least the past five years."

Amnesty International research has repeatedly found that Israeli forces have killed Palestinians in unlawful attacks that amount to war crimes. We have repeatedly spoken with families in Gaza whose homes were reduced to rubble by airstrikes, without any warning. 

As Israel unleashes suffering against Palestinians on an unprecedented scale, the Australia government must do everything in their power to prevent genocide.

That means stopping approving the export of arms to Israel; to a country enforcing a system of apartheid, that is pulverising street after street in Gaza, decimating entire families, and deliberately denying humanitarian aid to people. 

Because people all around Australia have urged the government to take action, last week Prime Minister Anthony Albanese issued a joint statement expressing "grave concerns" about what would be a “catastrophic” Israeli ground operation in Rafah and calling for a ceasefire. Whilst this statement is an important response, the Australian government must send a strong message that they will not accept Israel’s continued carnage and stop the approval of defence exports immediately.

Email the Defence Minister, and call for Australia to stop approving permits for defence exports to Israel.