Western Sydney, Blue Mountains stand with Palestine

November 29, 2023
Calling for a ceasefire on November 23 in Parramatta. Photo: Zebedee Parkes

Residents across Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains continue to express their solidarity with Palestine, despite the temporary truce in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Despite rain, several hundred people attended a candlelight vigil on November 23 organised by the Australian Arab Federation in Parramatta.

Palestinian and Arabic activists as well as Greens Parramatta Councillor Phil Bradley spoke and videos of Palestinian artists, poets and musicians were shown.

Bradley was introduced as being from the “only political party in parliament with the courage to call for a ceasefire”. The MC added that Labor MPs always ask the Arab-Australian community for their votes but they have so far refused to support a ceasefire or help people whose families have been killed in Gaza. “We need to stop inviting Labor to our cultural events if they won’t support us”, the MC said.

More than 70 people, including councillors and leaders of the Palestinian, Tamil, Sikh and Kurdish community, attended a forum hosted by Western Sydney for Palestine at Granville Town Hall on November 24.

Greens leader Adam Bandt and NSW Greens Senator David Shoebridge outlined their support for a ceasefire and opposition to Israel’s occupation, which predates the recent invasion. They gave details about how the Greens are supporting Palestine in parliament.

Both praised the thousands protesting for a genuine ceasefire each week and criticised the temporary truce that had begun that day.

“Parliament should seize this opportunity to make this ceasefire permanent,” Bandt said. “It’s also time our government joins governments around the world and calls for an end to the occupation.”

Later that day, Western Sydney for Palestine organised a protest outside the office of federal MP Michelle Rowland in Blacktown. Protesters handed over a letter to the Greenway MP, calling on her to publicly support a ceasefire, increase humanitarian aid, support an embargo on military aid to Israel and call for an end to Israel's occupation of Palestine.

“We are residents of Greenway constituency who are deeply troubled by your silence and your inability to publicly denounce the merciless military actions committed by the Israeli forces,” the letter said. “As the political representative of our community, we implore you to adopt an unambiguous stance on the harrowing situation in Gaza. It is a time for decisive action, not passive observation.”

By contrast, Trish Doyle, Blue Mountains MP, addressed a pro-Palestine in Katoomba on November 26. The protest was the third in as many weeks, organised by the newly-formed Blue Mountains Friends of Palestine.

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