Marking the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the Federal Parliamentary Friends of Palestine and the UN Parliamentary Group held a launch at the Parliament House of Australia on the 24th of March.
“This will be a critical year for achieving the two-State solution, bringing an end to the occupation that started in 1967, and securing an independent, viable and sovereign State of Palestine living in peace and security with the State of Israel where each recognises the other’s legitimate rights,” UNIC Canberra Director, Christopher Woodthorpe said reading the Secretary-General message to the crowded committee room of ambassadors, advocacy group representatives, members from the Palestinian community and 24 parliamentarians from a diverse range of Australian political parties.
The Head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, Izzat Abdulhadi passionately spoke about the responsibility of Australian leaders to play a role in the peace process.
“In this year of solidarity it’s not me asking you for this. The International Community is asking the world and each of us in our capacities here in Australia to act together to make this a reality,” Mr Abdulhadi said.
President of the Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN), Bishop George Browning drew attention to the unsustainability of the current situation.
“The status quo cannot continue. For if the status quo does continue, it affects the peace and security of the whole global community,” Bishop Browning said.
Highlighting the variety of roles Australians can play, Moira Kelly from Global Gardens of Peace spoke about the NGO’s inaugural project in Gaza City, which aims to create a green space and safe play area for children.
“I’m not a gardener, I am a girl from Melbourne with a crazy idea,” Ms Kelly said.
Parliamentarian hosts of the event Maria Vamvakinou MP, Craig Laundy MP, Melissa Parke MP all spoke about the importance of the International Year and why they believed the Australian Parliament should be discussing the surrounding issues.
A UNIC Canberra Informational Display on Palestine was exhibited at the event alongside an information table on the Question of Palestine.