Week of solidarity with Palestine

October 14, 2006

Forums about the occupation of Palestine, film screenings, mock Israeli checkpoints and protest actions were held on university campuses in NSW as part of a week of solidarity with Palestine on October 9-13.

The week, an initiative of the September 15 student anti-war conference in Sydney, aimed to draw attention to the plight of Palestinians living under Israeli occupation and to support the struggle for a free Palestine.

At Wollongong University, Students Against War (SAW) activists constructed a replica of Israel's apartheid wall outside the library and collected signatures on a petition against violations of Palestinians right to education. The protesters' demands included an end to Israeli military raids of universities in the occupied territories and an end to the Israeli government's spending of six times more on Jewish students than on Palestinian students within Israel.

At Sydney University, students were asked to show ID and proof of citizenship at mock Israeli checkpoints around campus to promoted awareness of the hundreds of checkpoints and roadblocks that Palestinians are forced to endure daily. At a street theatre performance outside the library, a crowd gathered to hear facts about the impact of Israel's latest offensive against Gaza.

At a similar action in Wollongong, Karlee Jones from SAW said: "Israel invaded Gaza in an attack outrageously codenamed 'Operation Summer Rain' in June. The electricity plant was destroyed and over 900 Palestinians have been wounded."

SAW activist Tim Dobson, addressing a forum at Wollongong University, said: "This forum is titled 'Palestine is still the issue'. However, if you watch the news or read the newspapers the exact opposite is true. Palestine is not even an issue at all. To the media and to our government, the issue is what is in the interests of Israel ... In this context, forums such as these, which are happening state-wide, become crucial."

On October 12, students at the University of Technology, Sydney transformed the bar into "Café Intifada" and invited people to speak about the issues at an open microphone. Palestinian activist Rihab Charida screened short films shot in Palestine last year.

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