More than 200 people gathered outside the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly to call for an immediate ceasefire. They joined a wave of peace rallies across the country on October 27 following Israel’s latest murderous offensive against Palestinians in Gaza.
Jerome Cubillo, from the Larrakia Nation, said in his welcome to country that it is honour to stand in solidarity with Palestine. “We, like the Palestinian people, have never ceded our sovereignty,” he said. “We know our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”
Larrakia Elder June Mills said: “There are many things to fight for. But one rule is that you never hurt the innocent. Not the children. This is a sin beyond sins. They’re innocent babies. They have nowhere to go.”
The point was echoed by Helen Richmond from the Uniting Church. “There is too much unholy business that is going on there that needs to be called out,” she said. “Peace will not be achieved through a so-called military situation.”
This year marks 75 years since the Nakba, when Zionist militias forcibly exiled more than 750, 000 Palestinians from their homes and destroyed more than 450 Palestinian villages. The ethnic cleansing and settler-colonial expansion have continued.
“It was one of the darkest days in Palestine’s history to lose your country, your identity and your home, just like that,” said Hamza Razi from United Muslims of the NT.
Israel has illegally occupied Gaza since 1967, imposing oppressive living conditions on Palestinian residents. Israel’s oppression has been given political support by the West, including Britain, the United States and Australia.
Dr Karen Edyvane, a member of Territorians for Palestine, said: “This genocide is happening in full sight of the world. Through our silence, we have been complicit in the war crimes over decades.
“By failing to call Israel into account we have given them the green light to continue the ethnic cleansing and suffering of the Palestinian people.”
Following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel, Israel has tightened its collective punishment of the Palestinian people by cutting the supplies of food, water, fuel, medicine and electricity to Gaza.
Musry, now in his 70s, said he was heartened by what he saw as a changing mood. “Decades ago, anyone who spoke out against Zionism and Israel was considered to be someone on the fringes of society. Now, we can see that opposition to Israeli crimes and support for Palestine is becoming increasingly mainstream.”
Despite this the Australian government has not condemned Israeli aggression.
Dr Asim Razi, the MC, ended the rally by calling on Islamic organisations to be brave and truthful when meeting with politicians. “We ask for an immediate and unequivocal condemnation of the Israeli defence force.
“When these politicians come to meet with us, what will we say? Will we remain silent because we are scared of losing our funding? It is the word of truth in the face of an oppressor that is true jihad, as we all know.”
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