The Guardian • Issue #2103

Stop arming Israel Rally – Borloo/Perth

Rally in support of Palestine, Perth 2024.

This rally was based on the very simple premise that if the capitalist countries of the West stopped arming Israel, peace and justice could happen in Palestine.

Hiba of Mothers for Palestine opened the rally with respect to Indigenous people in Borloo, also suffering the effects of colonialism. The tides are turning as the world is increasing its support for Palestine. 6 June was a shameful day for this nation when Israel bombed a UN school that was being used as a shelter for Palestinian refugees.  Hiba added that if you won’t speak of the genocide in Gaza, you will be incapable of speaking up against any injustice.

ALP Senator for WA Fatima Payman  began with: “This is a genocide and we need to stop pretending otherwise.” She mentioned the unjustifiable war in Iraq in which one million people lost their lives, and urged Australia to ensure it will not be on the wrong side of history again. It is not in the national interest to support a war in the Middle East. Payman called on the Australian government to halt trade with the Zionist state Israel, support a permanent ceasefire and recognise a Palestinian state. Payman also highlighted the unprecedented campaign of disinformation and propaganda by the Zionist state of Israel, which has traction with both mainstream political parties and  the capitalist media.

International laws to protect journalists are disregarded by Israel. Over 100 journalists have been killed reporting the events in Palestine. Senator Payman also was proud of students around the world including in Perth who speak out against the violence and atrocities being committed by the State of Israel. The students have amplified the voices of others in our community who support Palestine. Let there be freedom and justice for Palestine.

Hiba then spoke about the recent use by some world leaders of a ‘Red Line’ which, if crossed, would supposedly bring consequences, and asked where the ‘red line’ is for the genocide in Gaza.    It was crossed long ago said Hiba, and the Palestinian people will tell the government when the Red Line has been crossed – after the bombing of schools, universities, targeting safe havens and even tented refugee camps.

Sam Wainwright, Co-Chair of Stop AUKUS spoke of PM Albanese’s time as convenor of Young Labor for Palestine. In regards to arms exports to Israel by Australia, Wainright said Australia may not export the arms as finished products, but is heavily involved in the export of components. Of AUKUS, Wainwright said this alliance was dragging Australia into a military confrontation with China over Taiwan, and added this demonstrates that Australia needs to have an independent foreign policy where we – not the US or the UK – decide what is in our national interest.

In July there will be a major arms conference in Perth at which the countries responsible for arms used to commit genocide would be discussed. A joint protest by Friends of Palestine WA and Stop AUKUS was being planned to highlight the contentious nature of this conference. Wainwright concluded: “It is not enough to be on the right side of history, we need to make history.”

Alevine Magillan from Students for Palestine WA said that the movement is under attack from the ALP which is accusing it of being divisive and spreading hatred. The student movement will persist  supporting Palestine and opposing genocide.

The last speaker was Nasser Mashi of the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network. Mashi said it was not appropriate to call this a war when the two sides are of such asymmetrical military and economic strength – it is more the oppressor and the oppressed. Mashi also said the conduct by Israel over its actions in Gaza demonstrated that it was now a rogue state. The impunity with which Israel largely operates was highlighted; the day after the ICC said Israel had a case to answer for genocide. The IDF dropped a 2000-pound (900 kg) bomb on a tent city in Gaza.

“When Palestine is free,” said Mashi to the 1,000 people who were present at the rally, “you can hold your head high and say you were there and you were a part of it.”

The rally then marched around the CBD to take their message to others in the streets and malls.

The next rally will be on Saturday 22 June 2024 at 12 noon in Russell Square, Northbridge.

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