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Byron Shire
January 21, 2022

Byron/Gaza twinned

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In Australia there are about 106 towns and cities in sister city or twinned relationship with counterparts worldwide. Lismore is twinned with towns in Ireland, Japan and the US but Byron doesn’t get a mention even though it hosted 2.3 million visitors before the pandemic.

Byron’s unique position of being an international tourist icon gives it the opportunity to raise public consciousness about Gaza, the world’s biggest outdoor prison holding 2.1 million people under the third longest siege in history. The besieged Gazans are thwarted at every turn by Israel as they seek medical treatment not locally available or wish to take up scholarships abroad.

They are regularly bombed, which Israel calls ‘mowing the grass’! Fisherfolk are shot at sea, boats are confiscated and crews forced to swim back in icy waters. Israel bombs hospitals, like Al Shifa, water treatment and sewerage works, and power generation and leaves the environment deeply polluted with cancerous ordnance residues and depleted uranium.

Israel has reduced this once bustling and thriving coastal city to a living necropolis resembling Hiroshima or WWII Dresden. Byron Friends of Palestine call on our mayoral candidates to seriously commit themselves to twinning Byron Bay with Gaza and to give the dispossessed a face.

Gareth W R Smith, Byron Bay

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  1. Gareth,

    Your statement is so distorted and so lacking in truth that I believe it is dangerous. People die as a result of words that seek no truth. You make no mention that Israel handed back Gaza to the Gazians, which is now under the hateful control of Hamas, who routinely fire on Israel and often calamitously misfire on their own people, subjecting suffering Gazians to further trauma.

    Israel is by no means without fault, but I would ask you how you and fellow Australians would feel being fired on daily? This is not an easy situation and if you truly wish to help Gazians, present balanced facts – not distortions, which keep the flames of hatred burning,

    • Why are Israel apologists so ready to excuse the many war crimes, land theft and apartheid of Israel? Israeli logic is that Palestinians should cooperate with their own oppression. They should move quietly through the checkpoints, open their bags, not look their occupiers in the eye and certainly not challenge or protest the theft of their lands, resources and freedoms. Israeli logic is that if they don’t like it, they can leave. Actually, they would strongly prefer that Palestinians leave. The strategy is to make life so unbearable for Palestinians, that they leave willingly. It even has a name: “voluntary transfer”.


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