Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong said that while Australia was concerned about humanitarian conditions in Gaza, it did not accept the “premise” of the genocide case against Israel.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese avoided speaking directly about the case when asked for an official stance.
“Australia’s position tends to be when there are legal actions underway of which we are not a party, those processes take their course,” said Albanese.
However, Foreign Minister Penny Wong revealed more while on a diplomatic tour of the Middle East.
Meeting with Israeli officials, she declared that Australia was a “friend of Israel”, but warned the country to ensure it was acting within international humanitarian law.
Speaking earlier at a press conference in Jordan, Senator Wong said that while Australia was concerned about “dark humanitarian crisis” in Gaza, it did not “accept the premise” of the genocide case.
“Our support for the ICJ and respect for its independence does not mean we accept the premise of South Africa’s case,” Senator Wong said.
“We will continue to work for a just and enduring peace. I would note, Australia is not currently a party to the case, and that at this stage the ICJ has not invited interventions.”
However, she also said that Australia was “gravely concerned” about the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
“Australia continues to call for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to affected populations, and further humanitarian pauses to enable the scaled up delivery of aid, safe passage for civilians and the release of hostages.”
“We are working with our international partners to ensure desperately needed food and other humanitarian assistance reaches those who need it most.”
The statements come just after Australia announced it would contribute an additional $21.5m in aid for affected civilians and refugees in Gaza.
Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, who met with Wong on Tuesday, was vocal in his condemnation of Israel and in support of court intervention.
“We’re facing a reality in which we believe Israel has committed war crimes in Gaza,” said Safadi to press.
Wong is set to meet with Palestinian officials later this week.