‘Deplorable’: Defiant senator attacks Israel

Ceasefire Petitions
Labor senator Fatima Payman has doubled down in her calls for a Palestinian state. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

Fatima Payman has doubled down on her calls for a Palestinian state, further alienating the renegade WA senator from the Labor Party’s position ahead of a parliamentary sitting week.

Senator Payman caused ripples through the party room earlier this month when she broke ranks to accuse Israel of genocide in the ongoing war in Gaza.

She used the controversial phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as she called on Labor to sanction and cease trade with the Jewish state.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned the chant, and said Senator Payman’s comments were “not appropriate”. He said she did not speak for the Labor Party, who believe the phrase is incompatible with the desired two-state solution.

It prompted the Coalition to move a motion in the Senate seeking assurances Labor did not agree with the phrase. The government voted with the Coalition, but Senator Payman was not in the chamber and did not vote.

Ceasefire Petitions
Senator Fatima Payman publicly broke rank with her party earlier this month to call for a Palestinian state while using a controversial phrase. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

On Monday, after reports emerged Israeli forces had bombed a tent camp housing displaced people in a designated safe zone in Rafah and killed at least 35 Palestinians, Senator Payman took to X to double down on her position.

“Videos are coming out of Rafah today with beheaded babies. This is deplorable,” she said.

“We must demand an end to this genocide, stop all trade, divest and recognise a Palestinian state.”

The Albanese government has said recognising a Palestinian state in due course will be crucial to ongoing peace in the Middle East, but would not immediately follow the likes of Norway, Spain and Ireland which last week declared their recognition.

Mr Albanese has maintained the Labor Party desires a two-state solution, but that would not be possible while Hamas was active.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has maintained his party desires a two-state solution. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Martin Ollman

The Australian government has cautioned Israel against further worsening the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza, particularly in Rafah – the most southern part of the enclave near the Egyptian border.

The latest air strikes in Tel Al-Sultan neighbourhood in western Rafah on Sunday killed mostly women and children, and injured dozens more.

Thousands of Palestinians have been taking shelter throughout the western part of the city, after Israel began its ground offensive over two weeks ago in the eastern areas.

The strikes came two days after the International Criminal of Justice ordered Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah.

Hours before Israel’s latest air strike, Hamas fired a barrage of rockets from Gaza for the first time in months, setting off air raid sirens as far away as Tel Aviv.

Co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry Alex Ryvchin, said Hamas’ attacks accounted to a “double war crime”

“They endanger Palestinians by turning the launch site into a lawful military target and their aim is to kill as many Israelis as possible,” he said.