SRC President’s Report – Week 7, Sem1, 2018

Imogen Grant

The Palestinian Great March of Return have entered their fourth week and continued unabated despite violent attack from Israeli military forces. The media and Australian government (including the opposition) is determined to see these events as “deadly unrest”. It’s clear however that the violence comes from Israeli forces upholding their colonial power and defending apartheid state from a largely peaceful mass movement.

The protest was explicitly planned to be a large, non-violent demonstration. Organisers planned their march to stay away from the Israeli forces, and the border. Organisers told Ha’aretz their goal was “to present the Palestinians’ case to the world and not to engage in confrontations with the Israeli army.”

Israel responded with brute force. The army shot on camera isolated and unarmed Palestinians hundreds of metres from their soldiers, posing no threat. All who get within 300 yards are labelled “instigators” by the Israeli army, whose soldiers have orders to shoot them. The sheer scale of the casualties on the first day of the protest is striking, with as many as 16 killed and 1,415 injured, of whom 758 were hit by live fire according to Gaza health officials.

Israeli human rights group condemned the murders: “Shooting unarmed demonstrators is illegal and the command that allows it is manifestly illegal”. So far, Israel has faced little criticism from an international and Australian media uninterested in the Gaza story, or else is happy to go along with Israel’s interpretation of events. But The political price of besieging or blockading urban areas like Gaza is rising because it is impossible to prevent information about the suffering of Palestinians becoming public. The courage of Palestinians fighting against their oppression demands our solidarity. Join this speakout on campus to condemn the Gaza massacre, to demand the Australian government cut ties with Israel, and to support freedom and justice for Palestine. See event here – https://www.facebook.com/events/204196530178448/.

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