Lisa Gleeson

Palestinian cook and writer Laila El-Haddad recently completed a successful Australian tour. Weaving stories of Palestinian life through her demonstrations of a cuisine that is unfamiliar to many Australians, Laila showed curious foodies how food, culture, resistance and occupation intersect and what it is like to live through such a heady mix.

A record number of Palestinian prisoners began a hunger strike to coincide with Palestinian Prisoners’ Day on April 16.

More than 1500 prisoners are taking part in the largest mass hunger strike in recent years. Marwan Barghouti, sentenced by Israel to five life sentences, is leading a renewed campaign to draw attention to the conditions Palestinian prisoners face.

It also aims to highlight the oppressive nature of Israel’s colonial occupation that makes arrests of Palestinian people all but inevitable.

As women around the world prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8 and continue the struggle against entrenched sexism, misogyny and gender-based violence, Palestinian women are doing all that with the added burden of living under Israeli occupation.

In the first ever visit by a serving Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Australia this month as part of an international tour aimed at shoring up Israel’s reputation abroad.

The visit has actually attracted attention — but not the kind Netanyahu would like.

Foreign minister Julie Bishop was quick to reiterate the Australian government’s firm support for Israel and distance it from the December 24 vote on UN Security Council resolution 2334 reaffirming the illegality of Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territories.

The resolution was passed by the Security Council, with the United States abstaining rather than vetoing the vote, as it has traditionally done with resolutions that have criticised Israel.


Palestinian workers queue to cross the Apartheid Wall in Bethlehem.

With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to become the first Israeli prime minister to visit Australia next year, the Australian government will likely seek to deepen economic ties with the self-proclaimed “only democracy in the Middle East”.

It is also likely, if not certain, that Israel’s ongoing strangling of Palestine — economic as well as political and military — will not be mentioned.


BDS action in Adelaide's Rundle Mall.

Adelaide may be as far from Palestine as it gets, but a dedicated group of activists have just celebrated 10 years of BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) campaigns. Their weekly actions in the Rundle Mall highlight what BDS has become — a growing, grassroots, global phenomenon that presents a real threat to Israeli apartheid.

More than 80 people braved Ballarat’s winter weather to demand an end to institutionalised discrimination against LGBTIQ couples. Ballarat’s Equal Love rally featured several speakers, including Equal Love (Ballarat) convener Koby Bunney.

“Love is love and it always wins,” he said at the end of a march from Bakery Hill to Ballarat Town Hall.

People were moved to hear from several couples whose relationships are not recognised by Australian law. Many voiced their frustration that while couples in Ireland and the US could now choose to get married, this was not yet the case in Australia.

More than 10,000 followers of the beautiful game sang, danced, shouted and chanted their way into AAMI Park for the Palestine vs Jordan match in this year’s Asian Cup.

Although the 5-1 result in Jordan’s favour was no real surprise, supporters were as jubilant at the mere presence of the Palestinian team as they were at its first tournament goal.

About 100 people joined the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and other unions in Geelong at a rally to support the striking Tandara Spirit workers on December 1.

Viva Energy, which owns the Geelong oil refinery, ordered the ship to sail to Singapore where the Australian crew would be made redundant and the ship returned to its owners. The crew defied those orders with a three-week sit-in.

The Tandara Spirit is one of just five Australian-operated tankers left. Workers are concerned that Viva Energy could replace them with workers earning as little as $20 a day.

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