A challenge to the status-quo

I spoke at Sydney’s Politics in the Pub event last week on the crisis in Gaza (photos here). Actress Judy Davis and Palestinian activist Rihab Charida joined me in discussing ways to analyse the conflict and how to move forward.

The following letter was endorsed by 300 participants at the meeting on February 6 and sent to federal ministers and Labor backbenchers.

from: Sydney Public Meeting*,

Politics in the Pub, Gaelic Club,

Surry Hills, Sydney, NSW

February 6th 2009


The Gaza Catastrophe: An Independent Australian Foreign Policy

The killing of over 1300 people in Gaza, a large proportion of whom were children, plus the devastation of homes and basic infrastructure prompts the question, ”˜Where is the respect for human rights?’ This question also addresses Hamas firing of rockets which, during the long siege of Gaza, killed at least eleven Israelis.

In relation to the Gaza catastrophe, we ask that your Government cease the practice of treating Israel as an exceptional State, above international law , able to ignore UN resolutions, steal more land for settlements and able to kill at will. Please also find the courage to challenge Israeli spokespersons’ explanations and excuses for their brutality.

We also ask you and your colleagues to find the courage to develop an independent Australian policy which recognizes that peace with justice for the Palestinians, as identified by the rulings and principles of international law, would also provide security for Israel. Dialogue for a just peace, including meetings with Hamas, is the least costly, the most visionary and the only non violent way to address this decades old injustice.

Yours sincerely,

Stuart Rees,

Chair, * Public Meeting, letter endorsed by 300 + participants on 6/2/09

Sydney Peace Foundation

Box 54, Holme Building, Univ. of Sydney, NSW 2006

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