On Thursday 23 November, thousands of students in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra responded to a call to walk out of school and strike for Palestine, making it the largest student protest for Palestine in Australian history.
High school activists used the platform to say that the ‘truce’ announced this week is not a step toward justice for Palestinians. Israeli soldiers still occupy Gaza, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged to ‘continue the war’.
Audra Hope, 16, said: ‘The media want to say that this is a “ceasefire.” But this is no real justice… Justice will be achieved when Palestinians live a life free from destruction and terror. When the occupation ends and Palestine is free.’
Giselle Nayef, 17, used her speech to call out Labor’s support for Israel’s war: ‘Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong said, “As ever Israel, has a right to defend itself”. Really? Hospitals bombed, schools bombed, universities bombed, refugee camps bombed. This is not self- defence, this is a genocide.’
Students will continue to protest for the following demands, endorsed by Palestine solidarity groups across the country:
Israel must end its genocide in Gaza- stop the bombing, withdraw from the strip, and lift the siege.
Israel must release all Palestinian political prisoners.
Israel must end the occupation of all Palestinian territory.
Palestinian refugees must have the right to return to their homeland.
The Australian government should cut all political, economic and military ties with Israel until these demands are filled.
“We call on all students who stand against Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza to join us.” – School students for Palestine
They plan to walk out of school again on Thursday 7 December at Flinders St Station steps at 1:30pm in Melbourne and Town Hall at 12:30pm in Sydney.