Northern Territory communities continue to march for a free Palestine

November 25, 2023
Protesting on November 24. Photo: Stephen W Enciso

Northern Territory communities marched along the Nightcliff Foreshore on November 24 calling for an immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

The rally comes after the four-day pause between Israel and Hamas was announced. “Do they think a four-day pause can stop us from calling out their actions?” said Maryam Razi from United Muslims of the NT, referring to Israel.

“We don’t want to see the word ‘pause’ anywhere,” said Razi.“ You ‘pause’ a video game. You ‘pause’ a Netflix show. You ‘pause’ a music video. You don’t ‘pause’ a genocide. You end it.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to continue its war on Palestine as soon as the pause ends.

Labor has limited itself to calling for a humanitarian pause, closely matching the United States’ position.

“Why has our government’s position on this moral crisis so tightly matched that of the US?” asked Justin Tutty from Top End Peace Alliance.

“When President Biden was silent, Prime Minister Albanese was silent. When Joe said ‘humanitarian pause’, Albo did too. And when the US cynically relabelled that pause a ‘ceasefire’, the Australian government fell into place yet again.” Tutty called for an independent foreign policy.

Hajrah Kamran, chair of the rally, said: “There has been no productive statement released by our own government condemning the war crimes that have been committed by the Israeli government”.

Luke Gosling, federal MP for Solomon, has refused to meet with the Muslim community and has not called for a ceasefire.

“It severely distresses me that my federal representatives are unable to stand up for the war crimes being committed against the Palestinians,” said Anaa Fatima Sarmast, a 16-year-old high-school student.

“I ask you Luke: how do you think the innocent children feel when the Israelis drop white phosphorus on top of them? How do you think the parents feel when they watch their children die and have no means of saving them? How do the children feel when they search for their parents’ bodies in the rubble of their houses?”

Kamran read out a heartbreaking story from Palestine. “Write my name on my leg, mama, and your leg, mama, so when the bomb hits our home, when the walls crush our skulls and bones, our legs will tell our story, how there was nowhere for us to run.”

Jonathan Parry from the NT Greens said peace would only be achieved with an end to the occupied Palestinian territories, including the removal of Israeli settlers and security forces.

“We must respond to these horrors with compassion,” he said. “We must respond with honesty and truth, and we must respond with an ironclad determination to achieve a just and lasting peace.”

The latest death toll for Palestinians stands at more than 14,000.  Kulumbirigin Danggalaba Tiwi woman Mililma May, who welcomed us to country, called for action.  “I don’t want to give a welcome that encourages complacency to the systems that are causing harm and death here and overseas.

“Be critical of the media. Listen to those who have been silenced, divest from destruction and genocide, call out the colony and its violence every day.”

This is the biggest pro-Palestinian rally in Darwin yet and organisers say they will continue to keep up the pressure until Labor calls for a permanent ceasefire. “Together let our voices resonate in solidarity for justice and peace in Palestine,” said Kamran.

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