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Sydney

One Sydney council has raised the Palestinian flag, amid claims the move is ‘callous’

Key Points
  • A southwest Sydney council has become the first council to unanimously vote to fly the Palestinian flag.
  • A different Sydney council earlier this week back-flipped on its decision to fly the flag.
  • A representative of Australia’s Jewish community has labelled the move “callous and irresponsible”.
A southwest Sydney council has become the first to unanimously vote to fly the Palestinian flag in support of its local community and the people of Gaza – to conflicting reactions.
Canterbury-Bankstown raised the flag outside Bankstown Town Hall on Wednesday.
The council says the flag will fly until a ceasefire is declared in the Hamas-Israel conflict, which has and the residents of Gaza without food, water, fuel and other essential supplies like medicine.

The move comes as a different Sydney council earlier this week reversed its decision to fly the Palestinian flag.

Canterbury-Bankstown Councillor Khodr Saleh said the motion to raise the Palestinian flag passed easily, with support of the mayor and unanimous support of city council members.

“This motion was moved unanimously in council last night (Tuesday), with several councillors sharing words of sympathy for the Palestinian people,” he told SBS News.

Canterbury-Bankstown councillor Khodr Saleh said the motion to raise the Palestinian flag passed easily, with support of the mayor and unanimous support of city council members. Source: Supplied / Facebook

The flag-raising on Wednesday coincided with Global Dignity Day, which highlights the importance of kindness, understanding, tolerance and compassion, and aims to educate and inspire young people to better understand their self-worth.

Saleh, who was behind the motion, said raising the Palestinian flag was a necessary and important sign of support.
“We stand with the Palestinian people who have been ignored for far too long … This is only a small initiative, a small step of compassion for the Palestinian people,” he said.
The area has a large Lebanese population, accounting for 14.1 per cent of the electorate, according to the 2021 census.
Lebanon also has a strained relationship with Israel: earlier this month, were described as the biggest escalation of tensions in 17 years.

‘Callous and irresponsible’

But the flag-raising has caused outrage among Australia’s Jewish community.
“Flying the Palestinian flag when civilisation is reeling from the scale of atrocities committed in the name of that flag would be callous and irresponsible,” Alex Ryvchin of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry told SBS News.

“This is a time for supporters of the Palestinian cause to reflect on what this movement (Hamas) is really about.”

But for those rallying in support of the Palestinians, the visual symbol of support is a big deal.
Palestinian activist Assal described the move as “reassuring”.

“That people at any level of government takes a stance gives us assurance,” he said.

‘Uncomfortable with the Palestinian flag’

The move in Canterbury-Bankstown comes only a day after Randwick City Council – in Sydney’s eastern suburbs – reversed its plans to fly the Palestinian flag above its town hall.
It had initially voted in June this year to fly the Palestinian flag as part of honouring International Day of Solidarity next month.
But the decision was abandoned in respect to the area’s sizable Jewish community.

“The large Jewish community in the Randwick LGA who do feel uncomfortable with the Palestinian flag flying on top of the Randwick Town Hall,” Randwick Councillor Daniel Rosenfeld explained.

, killing around 1,400 Israelis and taking more than 200 hostage.
Hamas said the attack was driven by what it called escalated Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

The attack, the worst in Israel’s history, prompted a ferocious Israeli bombardment of the Palestinian territory, which Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry says has killed more than 5,790 people.

A man helps an injured man with his arm in a sling.

A man helps an injured man to walk outside a hospital in Gaza. Israeli airstrikes have resulted in the deaths of over 5,000 civilians in Gaza, including 2,000 children. Source: Getty / Youssef Alzanoun/Middle East Images/AFP

Israeli air strikes have hit housing blocks, tunnels, hospitals, a mosque and homes of Hamas officials in Gaza.

The Australian government has expressed support for Israel after the attacks by Hamas, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese describing Hamas’s actions as “indiscriminate and abhorrent”.

Albanese said Australia recognises Israel’s “right to defend itself”.

https://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/one-sydney-council-has-raised-the-palestinian-flag-others-claims-the-move-is-callous/zi8e3yt04 One Sydney council has raised the Palestinian flag, amid claims the move is ‘callous’

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