Rally for Sheikh Jarrah
On the 15th of May – Nakba Day – Wellington Palestine held a Rally for Sheikh Jarrah on Cuba Street to protest the illegal expulsions of Palestinian families from the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied Jerusalem, the brutal suppression of Palestinian protesters by Israeli police and their violent incursions into Al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan.
We wrote to Nanaia Mahuta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs asking her to join the United Nations and the international community in calling a halt to Israel’s illegal actions.
Over three hundred Wellingtonians filled Cuba Street and applauded passionate speeches by Palestinian activists, peace activists, trade unionists, VicLabour, Alternative Jewish Voices, a Wellington City councillor and Green Party MP, Jan Logie.
Access the speech by Valerie Morse (Peace Action Wellington)
Access the speech by Marilyn Garson (Alternative Jewish Voices)
In cities and towns across Aotearoa, hundreds of New Zealanders came out to express their outrage at the acts of the Israeli state and stand in solidarity with the people of Palestine.
Rally for Palestine at Parliament
Just four days later, on Wednesday 19th May, as Israeli F16s were reducing residential tower blocks to rubble in the besieged enclave of Gaza, killing and injuring hundreds of innocent civilians and scores of children, we took our rally to the steps of Parliament calling on all MPs to:
- Condemn Israel’s military action in Gaza
- Condemn the suppression of protest in Israel and the Occupied Territories
- Reaffirm New Zealand’s opposition to Israel’s illegal settlement activities
- Support the International Criminal Court’s investigation into Israeli war crimes
- Commit to supporting the non-violent, Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement and
- Recognise Palestinian Statehood
Most of all, because we knew that Golriz Ghahramen MP was putting forward a motion in the House of Representatives to recognise Palestine as a state we urged all MPs of all political parties to support this motion. Our rally of over 200 people, assembled on a busy weekday afternoon, was met on the steps of parliament by the following thirteen MPs.
Green Party: Golriz Ghahraman, Jan Logie, Elizabeth Kerekere, Ricardo Menéndez March, Marama Davidson and Chlöe Swarbrick.
Labour Party: Vanushi Walters, Ibrahim Omer, Duncan Webb, Helen White and Rachel Boyack
Māori Party: Debbie Ngawera-Packer and Rawiri Waititi
The rally was also addressed by Nadia Abu-Shanab (Wellington Palestine), Samira Zaiton (Wellington Palestine) and Marilyn Garson (Alternative Jewish Voices). You can listen to the speakers (and a lone Zionist heckler) on spotify.
Midland Park & march on the Israeli Embassy
Finally, three days later, on Saturday 22nd May, one day after the ceasefire had been declared we joined protests across Aotearoa by rallying in Midland Park before marching on the Israeli Embassy in Brandon Street. Around three hundred people attended the rally MCd by Kassie Hartendorp (Ngāti Raukawa). They listened to speeches by Anas and Rafiq Abu-Shanab (members of the Welington Palestinian community); Anaru Ryall (E tū organiser); Gayaal Iddamalgoda (Refugee and Migrant Rights Activist); Marlon Drake (Living Wage community organizer); Sam Duckor-Jones (Jewish Wellingtonian and poet) and Kate Slankard-Stone (Wellington Palestine).
The rally was concluded by a short hikoi around the corner to the doorstep of the Israeli Embassy where we laid 67 pairs of childrens shoes on the Embassy doorstep to recognise the loss of 65 Palestinian and two Israeli children. While the shoes were being placed Laila Farah, a young Palestinian woman from Gaza, read the names of the children, followed by a minute of silence.
The rally ended with the raised voices of protestors, demanding an end to Israeli occupation, chanting loudly down Brandon Street, “Free, Free Palestine!”
Wellington Palestine thank all of our members and supporters for your week of solidarity with the Palestinian people. We thank all of our speakers who raised their voices in support of this kaupapa. We thank Unions Wellington and Wellington Peace Action for your crucial logistical support and Joel for the PA. Shukran to all of you.
It’s not over till the occupation ends stand by for our next action. Join the movement!