Palestinian Australians are deeply saddened by the inability to communicate with their loved ones in the war-torn Gaza region.

Australian Palestinians express feelings of anxiety and helplessness due to the lack of internet access in Gaza, which prevents them from being able to check on their loved ones as Israel intensifies its air strikes.

On Friday evening, Paltel, the telecommunications company in Palestine, reported a total interruption of internet, mobile, and landline services for the 2.3 million people living in Gaza.

A person of Palestinian and Australian descent who lives in Canberra, and wishes to remain unnamed, stated that it has been 22 hours since they last received any contact from their relatives (cousins, uncles, and aunts) who have decided to stay in their residence in Gaza City.

According to him, we would contact them approximately every 36 hours. The calls were starting to feel uncomfortable because the main purpose was to make sure they were still alive, which they were aware of and understood.

The phone conversations also enabled him to update his family members in Gaza on the current events in the war.

“He mentioned that they lack electricity, radio, and television. Their access to the internet is also limited.”

Most of the time, they are unaware of what is happening except for the constant sounds of explosions and the destruction of nearby homes.

He stated that all Palestinian Australians would be experiencing shock and distress due to the lack of communication with their loved ones.

He stated that all the Palestinians he knows have family members in the Gaza Strip, either directly or indirectly.

“This division between us and them is a recent occurrence, as we have historically been a unified community.”

Amin Abbas, the creator of Olive Kids, a foundation in Australia that supports Palestinian children, stated that his organization currently has 400 sponsored children in Gaza. They have been using WhatsApp, messages, and calls to stay in touch with their partners in the area since the start of the war. However, due to current circumstances, communication has become impossible.

Abbas, a resident of Melbourne, stated that despite having little resources, they were dedicated to arranging assistance for impoverished families in Gaza. This included food packages and blankets, utilizing whatever was accessible, for those who had been displaced.

“Our progress has been completely hindered at this point.”

He stated that for individuals residing in Gaza, being able to connect with those outside the region was like having a “view to the outside world.”

“We feel helpless and angry, not knowing what actions to take while in Australia.”

According to Amal Naser, a Palestinian organizer and law student in Sydney, the blackout of communications will hinder the ability to accurately report on the events and casualties in Gaza.

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According to Naser, the international community will not have the opportunity to view and provide feedback on it.

Australia did not vote in favor of a United Nations resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza on the day that they lost communication. They believed the resolution was insufficient because it did not acknowledge Hamas as responsible for the October 7th attack.

Abbas expressed his frustration with Australia’s choice.

“We simply want to put an end to this violence immediately.”

Naser stated that Australia’s decision to abstain from the resolution was “completely absurd” and is consistent with their history of not holding Israel accountable.

This would essentially place Australia on the outskirts of the global community, as it does not uphold the established rules and norms.

Over the weekend, Alex Ryvchin, co-CEO of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, stated that Australia made the right decision to abstain. He believes that the UN should demand Hamas to surrender and release the 222 Israeli hostages immediately.

Hamas has previously taken advantage of ceasefires to restock their weapons. While it is crucial to prevent harm to civilians during any conflict, the idea that there can be peace for both Palestinians and Israelis as long as Hamas remains in control has been proven false, according to his statement.

I sincerely hope for the achievement of peace and safety for Palestinians. I also believe that the eradication of Hamas may lead Israelis and Palestinians towards mutual recognition and ultimately, peace.


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