Displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza's Khan Yunis, after Israel has expanded evacuation orders for Rafah
Displaced Palestinians in southern Gaza's Khan Yunis, after Israel has expanded evacuation orders for Rafah AFP

More than 300 public servants in Australia have written to the federal government, urging them to immediately stop all military aid to Israel.

They also pointed to the UN warning about how these exports could be used in Gaza, which in turn violated the international humanitarian law.

The signees, who work with federal, state and local governments, urged the Australian government to stop supporting genocide and ethnic cleansing by taking immediate action against Israel, The Guardian reported.

"We call on the Australian government to take swift and decisive action to end its support of the genocide, ethnic cleansing and illegal occupation of Palestine by immediately ceasing all military exports to Israel," their letter stated.

The letter came as Labor senator Fatima Payman resigned from her position on two parliamentary foreign affairs committees, ABC News reported.

Confirming Payman's resignation, a government spokesperson stated, "Senator Payman has resigned from the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade and the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defense and Trade Legislation Committee."

Earlier in May, Payman had broken ranks from her party, demanding the Labor government to impose trade sanctions against Israel. She also urged Prime Minister Antony Albanese to "stand for what is right."

The recent letter cited data revealed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that Australia's military export to Israel in February 2024 alone crossed AU$1.5m. This figure showed a transfer of bullets, guns and tanks, but excluded data on "bulk of military goods Australia exports to Israel such as engines for drones and military-grade steel for armored vehicles pellets."

In February this year, UN experts urged states to abide by 1949 Geneva Conventions and stop exporting arms and ammunition, including export licenses and military aid to Israel. The UN had named Australia as an arms exporter along with the US, UK, Germany, France and Canada. The world body also pointed out how military aid to Israel has risen since the Gaza war started in October 2023.

However, Australia has denied arms transfer to Israel.

Speaking on the issue after the UN warning, defense minister, Richard Marles, said there had been "no exports of weapons from Australia to Israel and there haven't been for many, many years." Later in November, foreign minister Penny Wong too denied supporting Israel with military aid. "Australia has not supplied weapons to Israel since the start of the Hamas-Israeli conflict," she said.

Defense industry minister, Pat Conroy, too had denied Australia's involvement in exporting military weapons to Israel.