Sunday’s Channon Market saw a ‘shout out’ in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza and a protest against the actions of the Israeli government and military who have killed over 30 unarmed civilians and injured over a thousand in the last 10 days.
The death toll includes three Palestinian journalists.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians have been protesting peacefully for the last two weeks as part of a campaign called The Great March of Return that will run until May 15. Their demand: to be allowed back to the ancestral homelands they were displaced from since the creation of Israel in 1948, a right enshrined in UN resolution 194 on Palestinian refugees’ right of return.
Addressing the Channon shout out, Gareth Smith from Byron Friends of Palestine said, ‘My eighth grandchild was born this morning. I am thankful my grand-daughter was not born in Palestine or Gaza. Currently there are 350 Palestinian children in Israeli jails and most have been tortured. Unlike Israeli children Palestinian kids, like teenager Ahed Tamimi, are charged under military law.’
‘According to the Defence of Children International one Palestinian child has been killed by an Israeli in uniform every three days for the past 18 years! Gaza is the world’s biggest prison with 2 million cramped into about 362 sq kms,’ he said.
‘I am thankful to be alive but probably would not be were I in Israel and waving a Palestinian flag. Ibrahim Abu Thuraya was in his wheelchair doing just that when an Israeli sniper shot him through the head. ‘
‘General Eisenkot’s deleted tweet stated that the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) knows where every bullet landed so all the murders of Gazan unarmed protesters was deliberate and coordinated,’ he said.
The actions of the Israeli government have dawn worldwide condemnation from civil society and human rights groups, including New York based Human Rights Watch, which has called it unlawful.
The Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at The Haguesaid the actions constituted a crime under the Rome statute of the ICC.
US-based Jewish Voice for Peace said, ‘We are calling for an end to Israeli violence against civilians and a just solution for Palestinian refugees in Gaza based on principles established in international law.’
Israeli human rights monitor B’Tselem has called on IDF soldiers to refuse to fire on unarmed demonstrators.
Another speaker at the shout out said, ‘ Even as we speak, unarmed Palestinians are doing the Gandhian thing and marching to the gates and being killed by Israeli snipers.’
He said, ‘It’s not a Jewish or Muslim question; it’s fascism. We also feel for the Israelis who have been brutalised by the occupation and the thousands in Israel who want to live in peace.’
Quoting ex-IDF soldier and Israeli peace activist Iran Efrati, he said: ‘You may think Palestine is far away; but it’s not. The tactics used by Israel to subdue Palestinians today will be used by our governments against us tomorrow. Israel is training police and paramilitary in many countries, including the US, Australia and India. It’s at the centre of the military industrial complex that rules the world.’
He said, ‘We who live in the rainbow region of Australia believe in peace, love and brown rice, but we also believe in human rights for all.’