For decades, it was only Arab and Muslim communities and sections of the socialist left in Australia that turned out to demonstrate in solidarity with Palestine. Others were intimidated by the slander that opposition to Israel is anti-Semitic, were affected by Islamophobia or didn’t see Palestine as an issue worthy of their time.
Streets around the country were a sea of red, white, black and green this weekend as tens of thousands of people marched in solidarity with Palestine.
“The security and the land are in Israeli hands”, declared Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol one month after the June 1967 War. In just six days, Israel obliterated the combined armies of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. The remaining Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip were seized, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued a chilling warning to Palestinians after Hamas launched a surprise operation against Israel on Saturday: “I say to the residents of Gaza: leave now because we will act forcefully. All the places where Hamas is deployed, hiding, and operating, we will turn into islands of rubble”.
The murder of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of Iran’s morality police last September sparked the largest revolt in Iran since the 1979 revolution. What began as a protest in Gina Mahsa Amini’s home town of Saqqez soon developed into a nationwide revolt against the Iranian state. Over the course of six months, hundreds of thousands of students, workers, the young and the old, took to the streets with the battle cry “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi!” (Women, life, freedom).
“It looked like an earthquake had struck the Jenin camp. The roads were completely obliterated, ambulances could not get through, wounded people had to walk. People inside their homes were crouching down and peeking out from the windows. You could just see the top of people’s heads because they were trying to avoid being shot through the windows.”