‘Get educated’: students strike to support Palestinians

November 24, 2023 by AAP
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NSW school students swapped textbooks for protest placards at a rally to show solidarity with the children of Gaza unable to go to school as the bombing continued

Hundreds of NSW school students have skipped class to show support for Palestinian children caught up in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Rallying at Sydney’s Town Hall on Friday afternoon, Year 12 student and rally organiser Eva said attendees had a moral duty to stand up for the children of Gaza and call for an end to Israel’s war on the Islamic militant group.

“We’re not going to stand for this,” she told the crowd to loud cheers as speakers called for an end to the bombing in Gaza and children as young as five watch on. “High school students in Gaza right now can’t go to school, can’t get an education.

“As students, we have a moral duty to stand up for Palestine.”

People attend a rally during a High Schoolers For Palestine demonstration, in Sydney, Friday, November 24, 2023. (AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

Fellow organiser and year 12 student Nora hit back at NSW Premier Chris Minns, who has been discouraging students from attending the event and advising them to focus on their education.

“I’d ask him to take his own damn advice,” she told the crowd.

“Get educated, Chris Minns.

“We are standing for the children of Gaza who are being slaughtered in their thousands, where schools have been shut down.”

Greens senator Mehreen Faruqi praised the crowd members for their courage in “dismantling the power structures”.

“You want a revolution on your terms and I am with you all the way,” she said.

A 49-year-old man was arrested to prevent a breach of the peace after he approached the large group carrying an Israeli flag.

Another man carrying a sign bearing the words ‘free the hostages’ was observed approaching some of the younger female attendees saying they “should be ashamed”.

Police said they are reviewing footage of the incident.

Year 12 student, rally speaker and granddaughter of Nakba survivors Jaseena said she joined the protest “to use my voice for those children in Gaza who are not able to pursue their education, and whose basic human rights have been stolen from them”.

Chants of “free Palestine” rung outside the US consulate in Melbourne a day after more than 1000 Victorian school students blocked city streets and staged a sit-in at a major shopping centre in support of Palestine.

The crowd of about 75 protesters including high school and university students said the US had “blood on its hands” over its support for Israel and called for the US-Australia alliance to be severed.

The group took to the streets marching along St Kilda Road blocking traffic.

In Adelaide, pupils also held a demonstration at Parliament House on Thursday.

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin described the protests as “the latest stunt by hardened anti-Israel activists to advance their propaganda campaign”.

“We are deeply concerned for the welfare of Jewish students and teachers and what awaits them when their peers, filled with racist slogans and violent chants, return to their classrooms,” he said.

Federal Education Minister Jason Clare on Friday said he had spoken to state leaders who all agreed students should be in class during school hours.

“If you want to change the world, then go to school,” he told Seven’s Sunrise program.

“If you want to protest, do that on the weekend, but school’s on – we expect students to be at school today.”

The student protests follow a series of pro-Palestine and pro-Israel rallies across the nation since October 7.

Hamas killed more than 1200 Israelis and took about 240 people hostage in attacks from Gaza, according to Israeli tallies.

Retaliatory strikes by Israel have resulted in the deaths of around 14,000 people, according to Palestinian officials.

At least 1.6 million Palestinians have been displaced in the conflict.

Organisers of Friday’s school protest are calling on Israel to end the occupation of all Palestinian territories, a long-standing cause of tension prior to the October 7 attack.

Gaza native Riyad Aladassi has made the same demand as his hunger strike continues ahead of a solidarity vigil at the Port of Melbourne on Friday afternoon.

The nurse claims to have consumed only water in the past two weeks and suggests his hunger strike won’t end unless his demands are met.

“If my people don’t eat, I will not eat … save Gaza first,” Mr Aladassi said.

Meanwhile, a group of healthcare workers plan to gather at Westmead Hospital in Sydney’s west on Friday night in solidarity with Gazan healthcare workers who have been killed or injured in Israel’s recent offensive.

By: Samantha Lock/AAP


One Response to “‘Get educated’: students strike to support Palestinians”
  1. Liat Kirby says:

    Unbelievable, but true! School kids revelling in what they don’t know. Probably aren’t interested in studying history, either.

    I say to Eva and Jaseena in Sydney, perhaps spare a thought for Abigail, who turns four years old today. She’s an American-Israeli being held hostage by Hamas. It’s thought she might be included in the first release of hostages by Hamas (today). Her mother and father were murdered in the kibbutz on October 7.

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