Emergency support, visas and safe passage for individuals and families from Palestine

The situation in Gaza is catastrophic. Despite growing opposition, protest, and condemnation from around the world, and calls by the United Nations for a ceasefire, Israel continues its bombardment and destruction of Gaza. Entire families have been killed, countless children are facing life-time disabilities with severe injuries and amputations, viral illness is spreading, and people are starving. The health system has collapsed as medical treatment and pain relief are no longer available.

The Australian Government has taken a much-welcomed step by calling for a ceasefire, aligning with the overwhelming majority of the world. We also acknowledge the joint statement made by Australia and other government leaders highlighting their concerns relating to increased incidents of settler violence towards Palestinians in the West Bank. 

After the Australian Government’s slow condemnation of Israel’s assault on Gaza and Palestinians, the Department of Home Affairs did approve more than 800 visas for Palestinians with connections to Australia, providing some hope for the Palestinian-Australian community. Of these 800 visas, only 143 Palestinians have arrived in Australia from Gaza in the past month. Furthermore, on 19 December 2023, Australians who applied for visas for their families to come to Australia from Gaza were advised in a mass email from government officials that consular support will not be provided to visa holders to exit Gaza. Instead, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will only provide support to spouses of Palestinian-Australians and their children under 18 years.

There has been growing confusion with both the visa applications and coordination for exit for Palestinian families which has added stress to an already emotionally traumatised Palestinian Australian community. 

“For over 70 days, we have worked exhaustively to find an optimal solution to save our families from the atrocities committed against them.

The tourist visa from Australia gave us hope, gave our family all around the globe hope, and more importantly gave our families in Gaza hope.

Since the ceasefire and media backlash, we feel our government has turned their backs on us and gave into the pressures.

We have been running around like a dog chasing its tail and we still don’t have answers. Our lives are literally on hold. I haven’t worked, studied or focused on running my household. It’s added immense stress and pressure and it has affected my mental health. We have urged our government to assist us with getting names on the border, but we receive the same response which means absolutely nothing anymore but we now feel like second class citizens and dehumanised by our own Australian government.

They must and desperately need to do better immediately.”

Nahil Chidiac 18/12/2023 – Relative of Palestinians in Gaza

We urgently call on the Australian Government to do more. There is no time to wait.

  1. Although the overwhelming majority of the world has now called for a ceasefire, the Israeli Government continues its ongoing brutality of the Palestinian people in Gaza and the West Bank..

We call on the Australian Government to apply as much diplomatic pressure as possible to condemn the assault on Palestinians and to call for an immediate and lasting ceasefire.

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Recent news & media

At least eight of the 12 Palestinians PARA was supporting have had their temporary visas reinstated and are now recommencing their journey to Australia to be reunited with family. They are overwhelmed with relief, including Rami, a journalist from Gaza, his wife, and three children aged two, six and ten years old.
The Palestinian-Australian community has expressed anger and frustration this week, multiple instances emerge of family members having their visas cancelled en route to Australia. Palestine Australia Relief and Action (PARA) is deeply concerned and seeking urgent clarification as to why some visa cancellations are occurring, leaving Australian family members devastated as their loved ones are being flown back to Egypt or denied departure all together.
According to non-profit organisation Palestine Australia Relief and Action (PARA), Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recently emailed letters to hundreds of Australian citizens who registered their family members in Gaza for consular assistance.