As the number of people killed by Israeli bombings surpassed 5,700, the Australian government decided to send a “significant contingent” of aircraft and supporting troops to the Middle East in order to be on standby in the event that “this gets worse.”
Richard Marles, who is both Australia’s acting prime minister and defense minister, made an appearance in the morning news of a number of different media channels on Wednesday to declare that two extra RAAF planes and support troops were being transported to the Middle East “as a contingency.”
Marles would not disclose exactly in the region Australia will station its troops or how many, but he did tell the ABC that a C-17 transporter and a KC-30 tanker would join an existing aircraft on reserve in the event that Australians located in the wider Middle East required immediate evacuation.
According to what he had to say, “We’re not identifying where they will be, but the point of this is to provide support to Australian populations that are in the Middle East, if this gets worse.”
“The situation is really precarious. We sincerely hope that this won’t happen. We have high hopes that this conflict will be contained to Israel and Gaza; nevertheless, you should know that the entire world is watching this as well, and we want to make sure that we are ready in case things grow much worse.
Marles said that any Australians living in the nations bordering the conflict between Israel and Hamas, such as Lebanon, should evacuate if given the chance.
“Make your departure using one of the commercial options that are open to you,” he advised taking, “but do so as soon as possible.” “The situation is really precarious. The outcome of this situation is completely unknown to us at this point. The government will do everything it can to help, but if you want to go, you should be sure to seize the options that are available to you right now.
According to the Gaza ministry of health, since October 7 there have been about 6,000 persons killed in Gaza, majority of them were civilians. Among those murdered were more than 2,000 children. Due to the fact that the border crossing with Egypt is still largely closed, at least 79 Australian people are currently trapped inside of Gaza with no obvious route to escape the blockaded territory.
Marles admitted that the situation for Australians in Gaza was “difficult,” but she stated that the government was still striving to construct a humanitarian passage that would allow foreign nationals to depart the territory.
He stated, “We do not have that in place yet; however, it is obvious that we have seen humanitarian supplies being brought in through Rafah, which is the entry point from Egypt.”
“We are very much encouraging those troops to get to the southern part of Gaza in accordance with the warnings that have been made by Israel, but we are in contact with those Australians and we will continue to be doing everything within our power to try and make a pathway for them to get to safety with troops,” said the United States.
In retaliation for the Hamas attack that resulted in 1,400 deaths and the capture of more than 220 hostages, Israel cut off the supply of gasoline, food, water, and medication to Gaza.
Following negotiations with US vice president Joe Biden, small amounts of humanitarian aid have been allowed to enter Gaza; nevertheless, aid agencies have described these amounts as being “a drop in the ocean” compared to what is required to help the 2.2 million people who are imprisoned in Palestine. The United States and other friends of Israel have thus far resisted efforts to bring about a “humanitarian” ceasefire in the conflict.
Marles claimed that it was Israel’s sovereign right to protect itself. Ed Husic, another member of his cabinet, stated the previous week that he believed the Palestinian people were being “collectively punished” for the atrocities committed by Hamas. However, Nigel Marles stated that he did not have sufficient evidence to make such a determination.
In an interview with ABC radio, he stated, “We’ve made our position really clear.” “Israel is within its legal rights to protect itself and to take action against Hamas. In order to accomplish this goal, it is vitally necessary to have protection from the center, for all the measures that Israel takes, and for the rules of war to be followed to; this is something that we have been making very plain to everyone involved.
“You are asking me to make a judgment in terms of the rules of war, which is something that can’t be done unless you have all the facts available to you and you are actually the ones making those judgments, which it is abundantly evident that we are not doing. What is essential, however, is that we be very clear in our demand that the rules of war have to be observed to and that the protection of civilian life has to be the utmost priority.