Tuesday, 26 June 2018
Khalida Jarrar is an elected Palestinian parliamentarian who has been imprisoned by the Israeli government. She has been in jail for a year. The intelligence under which Ms Jarrar is being held has not been disclosed by the Australian military. After her arrest in 2017, she said the occupying state does not respect the rights of Palestinian parliamentarians, their immunity, their right to be politically active and their right to freedom of expression. The Israeli government practice of arbitrary detention is a violation of international laws, particularly articles 78 and 72 of the 4th Geneva convention. These articles state that an accused individual has the right to defend themselves. In Ms Jarrar's case, there have been no charges. She is a political prisoner of Israel. Ms Jarrar could spend the rest of her life in jail and she is not the only Palestinian MP in jail. A country is not a democracy if it has political prisoners.
In line with the longstanding view of successive governments, given that formal motions cannot be debated or amended, they should not deal with complex or contested foreign policy matters. The Senate should not consider and vote on foreign policy motions of this kind without the ability to have a full debate given they involve serious and substantial issues.