Speakers at the major Sydney protest against Israel’s war against the people of Gaza will include:
- John Pilger, renowned author and documentary film maker
- Antony Loewenstein, author of My Israel Question
- Greens MP Sylvia Hale
- Dr Ghassan Achi
- Hamdi Alqudsi, Palestinian activist
- Rihab Charida, Palestinian activist
CANBERRA PROTEST FEBRUARY 3
We welcome you to stand with us, regularly or occasionally,
for an hour or even 10 minutes, any Friday, 1-2pm in Petrie Plaza.
We will also be at Parliament House (Melbourne Ave entry) for the start of Parliament on 3rd Feb 7.30-8.30am
Hundreds of protesters picked Julia Gillard’s office at Werribee in Melbourne’s south-west on Friday.
One of the speakers at the rally, Mohamad Tabiaat, told AAP that Hamas militants were only fighting against Israel’s blockade that prevented essential goods getting to Gaza residents.
“Israel are being hit by small missiles that are a response to the blockade that is killing the people slowly as they are without medicine, water, electricity and other essentials to life,” he said.
“They should absolutely live in peace.
“We live in and are proud to be Australian, but Australia is supposed to be a fair country and are silent to what’s happening.
“We are here representing that silent voice.”
Foreign Minister Stephen Smith says the bombing of the UN headquarters in Gaza highlights the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
Israel and Hamas are trying to negotiate a ceasefire in Egypt to the conflict, that has cost more than 1,000 mostly Palestinian lives.
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees suspended operations inside Gaza after its compound was hit by Israeli shells.
Mr Smith said any damage, whether deliberate or not, to a UN facility was both disturbing and regrettable.
“I think more generally it makes the point that whether it’s a UN building which is damaged, whether it is civilians who are injured or killed and whether those civilians are in Gaza or Israel, it underlines the point yet again that what we require here is an immediate ceasefire, an immediate implementation of this UN Security Council resolution…” he told reporters on Friday.
“We continue to urge all the parties to bring this resolution into practical effect.”
Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had apologised for the damage to the UN compound, which was appropriate, Mr Smith said.
The Australian Greens say Prime Minister Kevin Rudd should call in the Israeli ambassador to express Australia’s horror at the bombing of the UN compound in Gaza.
Greens leader Bob Brown said the attack should cause the federal government to rethink its stance on the conflict.
“It is time the prime minister took decisive diplomatic action,” Senator Brown said in a statement.
“He should start by calling in the Israeli ambassador to express the Australian people’s horror at what is happening in Gaza.”
Senator Brown said Israeli human rights organisations, the UN and the Foreign Press Association had all expressed outrage at the ongoing conflict, which has resulted in more than 1,000 Palestinian deaths.
“Yet there has been no condemnation of the Israeli military’s actions by the Rudd government,” he said.
“Australia needs to be part of global diplomatic efforts to get the Israeli government to stop this sickening violence.”