Thousands of protesters have turned out at passionate pro-Palestinian rallies calling on the Morrison government to hold Israel to account for alleged ethnic cleansing and war crimes.
For the second weekend in a row, Sydney and Melbourne have hosted major protests in support of a timely two-state solution to the deadly conflict, and an end to Australia’s ‘one-sided support’ for Israel.
As many as 15,000 demonstrators are believed to have attended the two rallies.
A fragile ceasefire is holding in Gaza after Israel and Hamas agreed to pause 11 days of bloodshed that has so far killed about 250 Palestinians, including 66 children, and 12 Israeli civilians and a soldier.
Hundreds have also been wounded on both sides after Israeli forces tried to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
Up to 15,000 people have attended passionate pro-Palestinian rallies calling on the Morrison government to hold Israel to account for alleged ethnic cleansing and war crimes (pictured at Hyde Park, Sydney)
Pro-Palestinian protesters took to the streets of Sydney on Saturday amid violent tensions between Palestine and Israel
For the second weekend in a row, Sydney and Melbourne have hosted major protests in support of a timely two-state solution to the deadly conflict. Protesters are pictured in Sydney
A protester in Melbourne carries a sign reading ‘We can’t breathe since 1948’ during dramatic rallies over the weekend
Tensions have erupted since Israeli forces tried to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem
A young child in Sydney is seen carrying a sign which reads ‘Israel is killing children like me’ during protests on Saturday
On Saturday, US President Joe Biden, whose administration worked to achieve the truce, said a two-state solution was the answer and promised a major package with other countries to help rebuild Gaza.
In Australia, the sentiment at Saturday’s rallies was that Australia was holding its historical line of digging in behind Israel and not doing enough to support a solution.
In Melbourne, Palestinian educator Noura Mansour said at least 10,000 people turned out to send a clear message to the Morrison government that its policies on the conflict do not resonate with them.
She said Australians had responded to a week of devastating scenes of death and destruction, to stories of entire Palestinian families perishing in Israeli air strikes, and children being pulled from rubble with horrific injuries.
Palestine supporters are seen carrying homemade signs and flags in Sydney on Saturday
A pro-Palestine supporter emotionally lies on the ground during rallies in Sydney on Saturday
In Australia, the sentiment at Saturday’s rallies was that Australia was holding its historical line of digging in behind Israel and not doing enough to support a solution
Many protesters wore make-up to represent bloodshed of the hundreds of lives lost in the violent conflict
Thousands are seen walking the streets of Sydney on Saturday. Rallies were held across Australia to protest against Israeli actions during the conflict
Emotional scenes depicting the carnage of the conflict were played out in a ‘Rally for Palestine’ protest in Sydney on Saturday
Children are seen covered in paint to represent blood during the rallies in Sydney
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged both sides to exercise restraint, saying Israel has the right to defend itself and its people but also that Palestinians must be able to live safely
Crowds of protesters walk through the streets in Sydney. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced 11 days after deadly fighting
‘It is great that we have a ceasefire but unless we end the illegal and inhumane blockade in Gaza, and stop ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, we’ll find ourselves back in this position a few months down the track,’ she told AAP from the protest.
‘We need to harness the forces we’re seeing here today. We know the Australian people support Palestinian rights and self-determination, and that is not reflected in the Morrison government’s policies.’
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Scott Morrison urged both sides to exercise restraint, saying Israel has the right to defend itself and its people but also that Palestinians must be able to live safely.
He said Australia supports a two-state solution but Australia has also said the International Criminal Court should not investigate alleged war crimes by Israel because Australia does not consider Palestine a state.
Some protesters hold a homemade coffin as they walk through the rally in Hyde Park in Sydney
It’s the second weekend in a row protests have erupted in Sydney and Melbourne
Protesters used megaphones during the rallies on Saturday in Sydney. A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced after 11 days of fighting in the Middle East
Palestine supporters are seen leaning on a knee during emotional rallies in Sydney
A Palestine supporter holds a flare during a rally at Hyde Park on Saturday
Similar scenes were seen in Melbourne on Saturday with thousands marching through the city’s CBD
Ms Mansour accused the prime minister of bringing tension to Australia by always taking sides.
‘They say they want a two-state solution but then they provide unconditional support to one of the parties, so it can continue with its aggressive policies.’
In Sydney, the Palestine Action Group’s Dalia Al-Haj Qasem says its rally also drew thousands.
‘The Australian government has been complicit, since 1948 they have abstained in resolutions that support the Palestinian people, or they’ve come out to vote against the Palestinian people,’ she told AAP.
A young child carries a ‘Free Palestine’ sign while sitting on a man’s shoulders during rallies in Melbourne on Saturday
Pro-Palestine supporters are seen outside the Library of Victoria on Saturday to protest against recent violence in Israel and the Gaza strip
Protesters are seen screaming during emotional scenes in Melbourne on Saturday as tensions continue in the Middle East
Melbourne was full of thousands of protesters on Saturday demanding an end to the violence between Israel and Hamas
‘They don’t recognise any of the Human Rights Watch reports, or anything that is against Israel. We want that to change.’
Earlier this week, former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce said the international community wouldn’t be able to do anything to halt the conflict, and Australia shouldn’t even try.
He said he didn’t want to see any spillover of the conflict playing out in Australia.
‘I don’t want to see someone else’s turd in my toilet and if you come to our country … flush it,’ he told the ABC’s Q&A program.
AAP has sought comment from the federal government.