Sunday 3 March 2024  

The Australian Centre for International Justice (ACIJ) and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) have called on the Australian government to cancel any visa issued to Doron Almog, a former major-general of the Israeli army.  

The organisations have written to the Minister for Immigration and the Minister for Foreign Affairs requesting they exercise relevant powers to deny Almog entry to Australia because he fails the character test for an Australian visa. He is the subject of serious credible allegations of involvement in war crimes in Gaza between 2001 and 2003. The organisations have warned that if the government allows Almog into the country, then they must refer him to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation, as Australia is legally obliged to under international law.   

Almog is accused of a series of war crimes resulting from his time as General Officer Commanding of the Israeli military’s Southern Command from 8 December 2000 to 7 July 2003. Under his command, the Israeli military were responsible for countless variety of extensive human rights violations and grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions inside the occupied Gaza Strip.

A detailed dossier of Doron Almog’s involvement in a number of alleged grave breaches has been provided to the Australian Government. They include:

  1. The murder of three boys, Mohamad Al Madhoun aged 16, Ahmad Banat aged 15 and Mohamad Lobad aged 17, killed as a result of injuries inflicted by flechette shells fired by an Israeli tank. Flechettes are pointed, fin-stabilized steel projectiles contained inside artillery shells. The boys’ bodies were mutilated and one of them had been run over by a tank.
  2. In January 2002, Israeli bulldozers flattened 59 houses in the Rafah refugee camp in Gaza. Residents fled their homes in heavy rain, most losing all their possessions in the process. Among those made homeless were a number of children who were terrified and traumatised by the demolitions.
  3.  The mass murder committed on 22 July 2002, when a one tonne bomb was dropped on Gaza City close to midnight in an extrajudicial assassination against Saleh Shehadah, that killed 14 civilians including eight children and injuring over 150 more.
  4. The killing of Noha Shukri al Makadma, who was nine months into her pregnancy at the time of her death on 3 March 2003, during another round of punitive home demolitions at al-Bureij refugee camp. Noha’s neighbours tried to carry her to the nearest clinic but they were fired upon by the Israeli military and were forced to leave her in the street where she later died before an ambulance was able to reach her. 

These incidents, over 20 years old, have been repeated in Gaza time and again by the Israeli occupation regime. They have been repeated time and again with catastrophic ferocity in the now four-month genocidal campaign being waged by the Israeli regime against Gaza since October 2023.

Almog is scheduled to speak at events in cities across Australia between 3 and 7 March 2024, as part of fundraising efforts for the United Israel Appeal. This is Almog’s second visit to Australia, having visited in March 2016 for a similar tour with another suspected war criminal: the chief architect of Israel’s 2014 military assault on Gaza, Benny Gantz, who is currently serving in the Israeli government’s war cabinet. 

Israel has refused to investigate credible allegations against Almog, and he has evaded justice, fleeing London in September 2005 after a warrant was issued for his arrest by the Chief London Magistrate. Metropolitan Police were waiting at the immigration desk to execute the warrant, but Almog was tipped off and remained on board his plane as the rest of the passengers disembarked, staying there for two hours before the plane took him back to Tel Aviv. 

Rawan Arraf, Executive Director at the Australian Centre for International Justice, said:  

“The war crimes allegations against Almog are serious and credible. The infamous and unlawful air strike in the densely populated al-Daraj neighbourhood in 2002 was the first time Israel dropped a one-tonne bomb in Gaza in an extrajudicial assassination which killed 14 civilians, including 8 children, and injured 150 more. It was condemned the world over, even by then US President George W. Bush.

“Since that bombing, Israel has continued to push the envelope and impose its warped interpretations of international law to render meaningless any protective elements for civilians. Israel’s unchecked unlawful conduct has led to the point where now, in a genocidal campaign, Israel drops two-tonne bombs in civilian areas in an apparent extrajudicial assassination, and kills over 195 civilians, injures over 700 and no Western leader utters any words of condemnation. This silence is complicity, and it must end.

“If the Australian Government refuses to cancel Almog’s visa, it must refer him for criminal investigation and prosecution. The Australian Government is under legal obligation to search for and arrest those suspected of grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.”

Raji Sourani, Director at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, said: 

“Our legal centre has acted for the victims of Almog since 2001. For over two decades we have tried all means to bring him to justice for his involvement in these crimes. Israel continues its crimes against the Palestinian people with full support from Western nations. In Gaza right now we are facing the culmination of this impunity, a genocide. Australia must decide if it wants to join the law of the jungle or the rule of law.” 

For media enquiries contact:  

Rawan Arraf, ACIJ: +61 450 708 870  


Image: Palestinian man beside a house showing small pointed metal darts ‘flechette’ sticking out of a wall, 2009 Photo: © Associated Press

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