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New call for state government to recognise Palestinian pain in Gaza


Friends of Palestine will hold a second rally in Adelaide this weekend, calling on the State Government to recognise both sides of the bloody conflict in Gaza.

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The Sunday rally will see the group gather at Parliament House to call on the State Government to support local Palestinian people in the same way it has supported Israel.

After the militant Hamas group attacked Israel recently killing more than 1000 civilians and taking hostages, the government illuminated key landmarks in the white and blue of the star of David in a gesture of solidarity.

Friends of Palestine spokesperson Mike Khizam said since then several thousand Palestinian people had died after Israel launched attacks on Gaza.

“While we can perfectly understand the SA government showing its concern about the attacks on Israel … it is absolutely wrong for the government to look like it is giving a blank cheque to Israel,” he said.

“This keeps it as good guys and bad guys, or black and white,” Khizam said, adding that “this horrific attack on Israel two weeks ago and the subsequent Israeli attacks” was far more complex as conflict in the region had been ongoing for more than 50 years.

The SA not-for profit community group describes itself as working to promote a “just peace for the Palestinian people based on international law and UN resolutions”.

His comments follow a prominent SA Muslim community leader resigning from the state’s multicultural board last weekend.

Islamic Society of South Australia president Ahmed Zreika was “disappointed, very upset, very sad” about what he believed was the State Government choosing one side over another in terms of the conflict.

Zreika was one of 15 members of the South Australian Multicultural Commission that the government describes as playing “an important role in raising awareness and understanding of multiculturalism and interculturalism in our South Australian community”.

One of its key roles is to “promote unity, understanding and harmony among all communities”.

Zreika said in discussing his resignation that “we condemn all kinds of violence for any civilians regardless of their background or race, but the government has not condemned this on both sides”.

And he called on the Premier to light up landmarks in support of the Palestinian people.

This week, state politicians stood in both the upper and lower houses to address a motion introduced by Premier Peter Malinauskas that acknowledged the “devastating loss of Israeli and Palestinian life and that innocent civilians on all sides are suffering as a result of the attacks by Hamas and the subsequent conflict”.

The Premier also said that while “acknowledging Israel’s absolute right to defend itself, we do still call on proportionality in terms of Israel’s response,” he said.

“We want to minimise wherever we see it the loss of innocent civilians’ lives. Tragically, we’re seeing that occur on both sides now in the Middle East.

“As a Government, we’re not taking sides on Palestine or Israel. I can tell you what we are doing – we’re taking the side of peace. We’re taking the side of basic humanity. We’re taking the side of no innocent civilians losing lives at the behest of terrorist acts.”

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