Protest demands troops out

March 21, 2009

On March 21, 200 people gathered at Sydney Town Hall for the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, demanding an end to the current US-led wars and occupations. The protests was organised by the Sydney Stop the War Coalition.

The speakers included Jeff Halper, peace and human rights activist and member of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions; Palestinian activist Rihab Charid; Riz Wakil from a newly establishing organisation Hazara Voice, and Michael Thomson from the National Tertiary Education Union.

Wakil pointed out the hypocrisy behind the occupation of Afghanistan. He said there is a move now to negotiate with so-called moderate elements of the Taliban, when the purpose for occupying Afghanistan was to rid the country of the Taliban.

Halper passed on greetings from the Israeli peace movement. He noted that, through its actions, Israel had eliminated a two-state solution, referring to the apartheid wall and the illegal settlements in the occupied territories.

"The problem is not 1967 but 1948", Halper said. Only a one-state solution is possible, a secular, democratic state where Israelis and Palestinians have the same rights.

Halper also argued, "we are all Palestinians", raising the need for international solidarity.

Israel's development and testing of weaponry and military strategies and devices was an undeniable global aspect to the conflict, he said.

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