Such is the outrage caused by Israel's latest attack on Gaza in December-January that even some local governments in New South Wales have passed, or are considering, motions condemning the attack and calling on the Australian government to ban the sale of any military material to Israel.
Marrickville Council, which has a sister-city relationship with Bethlehem, passed such a motion at its monthly meeting on February 19. Greens councillor Cathy Peters told Green Left Weekly that the issue "was close to my heart": her father was a Jewish refugee who left Berlin in 1938.
She said that she was very disillusioned with Israel's attacks, and felt that council, "as part of the community", should take a stand on the "continued oppression of the Palestinian people by the Zionist state of Israel".
The motion received near-unanimous support, including from the ALP mayor Sam Iskandar. It called on the Australian government, the Israeli ambassador and the representative of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in Australia to condemn Israel's attack on Gaza; the rocket attacks against the Israeli population; and the use of use of internationally banned weapons containing white phosphorus.
It also called for "a permanent end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza"; for Israel to withdraw from all settlements in the occupied territories and share water resources equitably with the Palestinians; and for Israel to negotiate with the elected PA government.
The council called on the Australian government "to ban the sale of military related items to Israel and sharing of military intelligence and facitilies" and "requests an international independent investigation into war crimes and violations of human rights and Geneva Conventions in Gaza by the Israeli occupation forces".
Activists in the Gaza solidarity campaign in Sydney are pushing for other councils to also take a stand. Meanwhile, activists are also campaigning for a boycott of Max Brenner chocolate. Max Brenner is 100% owned by the Israeli Strauss Group, which showcases its support for the Israeli army. To get involved in the campaign ring Aaron on 0403 879 220.