PM backs ceasefire as Australia boosts Gaza aid

Andrew Brown |

The UN has backed a US-drafted resolution calling for a three-phase ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.
The UN has backed a US-drafted resolution calling for a three-phase ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

A United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza is a significant breakthrough, the prime minister says, as Australia unveils an extra $10 million in aid to the region.

The new funds from the federal government will be directed to the World Food Program for assistance for civilians facing the risk of famine.

The extra money will take Australia’s humanitarian contribution in Gaza since October 7 to $72.5 million.

The announcement of the aid came as representatives met in Jordan for an urgent summit on humanitarian assistance.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia fully backed the ceasefire resolution.

“This war needs to stop and a ceasefire proposal put forward by the United States and now by the UN Security Council is positive leadership from the United States, it is a plan we fully support,” he told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“We need to see an end to the conflict, we need to see the hostages released and we need to see a plan for the infrastructure and for rebuilding of basic facilities there in Gaza.”

Federal minister Anne Aly
Australia’s representative at the summit Anne Aly says the ceasefire proposal needs political will. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS)

The security council has backed a US-drafted resolution calling for a three-phase ceasefire outlined by United States President Joe Biden in May.

Under the resolution, there would be a six-week ceasefire with an exchange of hostages held by Hamas, as well as prisoners kept by Israel.

The second phase would involve a permanent ceasefire, while the third would cover a reconstruction effort for the Gaza Strip.

The resolution calls on both Israel and Hamas to fully implement a ceasefire “without delay and without condition”.

Australia’s representative to the Jordan summit, federal minister Anne Aly, says the ceasefire resolution is an important step forward.

“It’s the furthest that we’ve been able to come as an international community in terms of reaching some sort of  agreement, but of course, there is that sense that it does require political will,” she told ABC Radio on Wednesday.

“That was a very strong message here today, that there needs to be a political will for a ceasefire, an immediate ceasefire and a rebuilding of Gaza towards a two-state solution.

“The population of Gaza know that the resolution was passed and that they are hopeful about it, there may be some further negotiations to be made,” Dr Aly said.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said Australia would continue to press for a ceasefire in the region.

“We support the ceasefire endorsed by the UN Security Council and want to see it fully implemented by both parties,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Any delay will only see more lives lost.”

As representatives met at the Jordan summit, Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest appeared at the event to unveil plans for a secure-gate system on the Israel-Gaza border to allow for more aid to be delivered to the region.

The system, known as SafeGates, would allow for 10,000 tonnes of food to be safely delivered into Gaza each day through hundreds of trucks monitored through automated systems.

Penny Wong
Civilians must be protected, aid must flow at scale and hostages must be released, Penny Wong says. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

“There is no cost to Israel and the plan respects red lines.  On the Gazan side, we will work with the existing network of agencies, businesses, as well as Palestinian community groups for aid distribution within the strip,” Dr Forrest said.

More than 37,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war on Hamas in October, local health officials say.

Israel’s military operation was precipitated by the October 7 assault in which militants killed 1200 Israelis and took more than 200 hostages.