Palestine rally in Melbourne
Protests in support of Palestine are set to be held across Australia. Image by James Ross/AAP PHOTOS
  • unrest, conflicts and war

Protests loom as Australian aid worker shot at in Gaza

Kat Wong April 13, 2024

Protesters are set to take to the streets in support of Palestine after a fraught week in Australian politics.

Rallies are scheduled for Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra on Saturday as concerns grow over the plight of civilians in Gaza.

Former journalist turned UNICEF worker Tess Ingram was shot at on Tuesday while attempting to deliver fuel to northern Gaza.

She was travelling as part of a UNICEF and United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) convoy when they were forced to wait at a checkpoint, she told Al Jazeera.

“The gunfire came from the direction of the checkpoint towards civilians who then ran away and the gunfire hit us,” she said.

“Three bullets hit the car that I was in: on my passenger door, the window and also the bonnet of the car.”

Though some of her colleagues were outside the armoured vehicle when the gunfire started, they were able to run back inside for safety.

In early-April, Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom and six of her colleagues were killed by an Israeli air strike.

Her death highlighted the Israeli military’s treatment of aid workers, who are trying to help the 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity as a result of Israel’s siege.

The Australian government has called on the Israeli government to accept full responsibility for Ms Frankcom’s death.

Former defence force chief Mark Binskin has been appointed by the federal government as a special adviser to Australia on Israel’s investigation of the incident.

But Ms Ingram said her experience showed “how unsafe it is for humanitarian aid workers and how missions like these are made impossible”.

“Safety is not guaranteed even when we take all of the required steps – as we saw with the tragic World Central Kitchen incident,” she said.

Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom
 Australian aid worker Zomi Frankcom and six of her colleagues were killed by an Israeli air strike. Image by HANDOUT/SUPPLIED 

The federal government has indicated support for Palestinian statehood with Foreign Minister Penny Wong saying the world needed to look beyond the immediate conflict and create a pathway to peace.

Her comments at a security conference were described by Opposition Leader Peter Dutton as the “most reckless act of a foreign minister I have seen in my 22 years in the parliament.”

Since the October 7 attack by Hamas which killed 1200 Israelis and led another 200 to be taken hostage, Israel has launched a ground invasion and bombing campaign that has killed more than 33,000 people in Gaza and displaced 1.7 million according to local health authorities.