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Canterbury-Bankstown Council is poised to be the first in Australia to sign onto the Sydney Statement on Anti-Palestinianism, which aims to counter prejudice against the Palestinian people.

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Labor councillor Christopher Cahill will move a motion at Thursday’s council meeting to recognise the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine, how it is of concern to Canterbury-Bankstown residents and note how the Palestine perspective is rarely given media attention.

The motion, to be voted on by councillors, moves to formally recognise Palestinians believe they are subject to racial prejudice and stereotyping and that “council proudly endorses the Sydney Statement on Anti-Palestinianism”.

Mr Cahill said the Canterbury-Bankstown area had a significant Arabic population, with peace in the Middle East a key concern for residents.

“Our mayor (Khal Asfour) in fact is of Palestinian decent,” he said. “He often tells the story at citizenship ceremonies of his family’s forced displacement from their home and their relocation through refugee camps eventually ending up and settling in our city.

The councillor said the Sydney Statement was not anti-Semitic, anti-Israel or anti-anything, but a basic call for human rights and justice for all.

“I don’t think any fair minded person with even a passing interest in social justice could object to any of the eight principles outlined in the Sydney statement,” he said.

The statement, written by the Arab-Australian Federation, features eight principles including that Palestinian people are entitled to their own state based on international law, UN resolutions and 30 years of international negotiations, and have the right to return to their homeland.

The statement defines anti-Palestinianism as language and practices which direct discrimination, racism, hatred, or violence against the Palestinian people.

The statement’s authors say the abuse can be verbal – explicit or implied – or reflected in violence.

“At its worst it denies the existence of the Palestinian people, an erasure that facilitates the perpetuation of violence against them and the denial of self-determination,” they say.

A spokesman from the Arab Australian Federation said the group welcomed the motion.

“It is a reflection of commitment to international law and international humanitarian law and it shows that this Council cares about issues of social justice,” he said.

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Article source: Canterbury Bankstown Express

2024-05-08 07:04:10.000000