Dry Bones - Australian lawyers letter
Dry Bones - Australian lawyers letterY. Kirschen

1012 Australian barristers, lawyers and legal academics have so far signed a nine-page letter – including 89 footnotes (Australian Letter) – requesting Australia use its influence to secure a ceasefire in Gaza and the' West Bank' – which I won’t be signing.

The Australian Letter dated 3 November 2023 acknowledges it is based on a similar letter signed by English lawyers dated 26 October 2023 (English Letter).

Both letters fail to disclose material facts – whilst the Australian Letter also deliberately omits material facts contained in the English letter:

Both letters state

“In the morning hours of 7 October 2023, Hamas fired a barrage of thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israeli territory, before breaching the security barrier surrounding Gaza in multiple locations.”

Neither letter states that the firing of each of these thousands of rockets indiscriminately into Israeli population centres constituted a war crime.


Both letters state:

“1,400 Israelis and other nationals were killed on and after 7 October 2023, according to figures provided by the Israeli Ministry of Health, most of them civilians including multiple members of the same family, women and at least 31 children. There are reports of mutilation”

No footnote provided for “reports of mutilation” seems to be intentional – given this Guardian Report dated 24 October was readily available:

“Israeli authorities have shown harrowing footage of killings and mutilations during Hamas’s rampage in southern Israel on 7 October.

The government showed the 43-minute compilation in a private screening for dozens of foreign journalists at a military base in Tel Aviv on Monday to counter what it said were attempts to deny or downplay the extent of the atrocities.

The footage, captured by security cameras, body cameras worn by the Hamas attackers, vehicle dashboard cameras, social media accounts and videos from mobile phones, left some reporters in tears. The material included the killing of children and decapitation of some victims.

It included much more, like the burning of babies in ovens and the rape of their mothers. Were these 1012 lawyers aware that such horrific atrocities had been carried out before signing this letter?

Would these 1012 signatories have signed this letter if they realised this could be construed as giving their support for a ceasefire that would also spare the lives of these sub-human monsters from Gaza – enabling them to continue attempting to repeat these vile crimes against humanity?

The English Letter recorded 299 Israelis being critically or seriously wounded and 279 people hospitalized for traumatic stress.

These statistics were deleted in the Australian Letter.


The English Letter states that “hundreds of thousands of Israelis” fled or were evacuated. The Australian Letter states “thousands of Israelis”.


The Australian Letter omits this statement contained in the English Letter:

“As stated by the UN Secretary General, “Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets”


Definitions of ambiguous terms used such as “Palestinians”, “Palestine” and “State of Palestine” have been omitted in both letters.

The Australian Letter additionally calls for:

“… the Australian Government to work toward ending Israel’s illegal permanent occupation of Palestine, as per the September 2022 findings of the Permanent United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Israel Palestine Conflict”

Laughable: Those findings were made without any consideration of Article 6 of the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the United Nations Charter which legally authorised the Jewish People to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in that area of Palestine (the Roman name for the region, no connection to anyone but the extinct Philistines, ed) nwest of the Jordan River.

Have any of these 1012 lawyers even heard of these pillars of international law that still apply today?

This legal practitioner with 63 years of experience will certainly not be signing this misleading and deceptive letter.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.

David Singeris an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.