Protesters gather to condemn the massacres in Jenin and Gaza
The protest was organised by Palestine Action Group in response to the deaths of 10 Palestinians in the West Bank caused by the Israeli military.
Over 150 people gathered at Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday evening to protest the latest massacre by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) that stormed the Jenin refugee camp on the West Bank and killed 10 Palestinians last week.
Just this month, at least 29 Palestinians, including 5 children have been killed across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
Palestinian Action Group hosted the rally with members of the activist group, Damian Ridgwell and Assala Sayara co-chairing.
Ridgwell explained the need to hold a rally and stand against the latest violence by the Israeli occupation, referencing the punitive home demolitions which saw “10 Palestinians massacred in the middle of the night in Jenin”.
Last year over 170 Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military. Ridgwell condemned the systematic violence against the Palestinians that has been ongoing since the 1948 Al-Nakba which marked the start of Palestinian dispossession.
“We’re here because we are outraged that our government has been absolutely silent in the face of this atrocity. Albanese has not said a single word to even acknowledge the Palestinians that are being murdered by the Israeli military, let alone denouncing these crimes.
But we are not going to be silent while Israel gets away with this violence against the Palestinian people.
The people of conscience in this country stand with Palestine and they stand for a free Palestine, free from the occupation and free from apartheid”, Ridgwell declared.
Palestinian activist Assala Sayara asserted that the “matter of Palestine” was about the “featherlight touch of the finger in the trigger when the target is a Palestinian”. Sayara called for one-minute silence in commemoration for all the lives taken by the Israeli military.
She praised the continued resistance by Palestinians in the face of oppression, reflecting on a resistance that “shows the bravery, the courage and the power that has been passed down from one generation to another”.
USyd casual academic and Palestinian activist Fahad Ali condemned the Israeli military for blocking ambulances that had arrived to assist the wounded and preventing Palestinians from being able to seek medical attention.
“Can you tell me anywhere in the world where people are being shot at and ambulance services are called to attend, and the occupying military says no while the rest of the world watches in complete and utter silence?” Ali asked the crowd.
He described the Israeli military’s actions as holding an “asymmetrical level of violence” with Palestinians “overwhelmingly” counting among the dead”. Ali gave an impassioned speech, declaring that change was not going to occur by “appealing to the oppressor”, but rather by “building a resistance” against them.
First Nations activist Lizzy Jarrett affirmed her solidarity with Palestinians, reminding protesters that the land they stood on was “ground zero of First Nations massacres”.
“I stand here with a broken heart to know that in 2023 people are still not safe in their homelands from illegal occupation. “Israel has no sovereignty over the Palestinian people. From Gadigal to Gaza, we will be free”, Jarrett said.
USyd Global Solidarity Officer Jasmine Al-Rawi gave an impassioned speech, describing what happened in Jenin as a “massacre”.
“I read that children there are no longer playing with marbles but with the bullet casings that lie in the streets. A 16-year-old child was run over by a military vehicle and a 61-year-old mother was shot dead through her bedroom window after she had just finished praying.
There is no other place in the world where such atrocities can happen without consequences”, Al-Rawi stated.
This year May 15 marks the 75th anniversary of the Al-Nakba and the continued struggle for Palestinian liberation against the Israeli military’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza strip.