By Aymon Bertah
Randwick Council has made the decision to fly the Palestinian flag later this year – months after flying the Israeli flag in April – in a move welcomed by a Palestinian advocacy group.
The move comes after councillor Kym Chapple put forward an amendment to the ‘Flying of Flags Policy’ at Tuesday night’s Randwick Council meeting, calling for the Palestinian flag to fly on November 29 – which marks the United Nation’s (UN) International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
The amendment was supported by all councillors, except for the five Liberal members, including Daniel Rosenfeld, who earlier this year led a motion for the flying of the Israeli flag.
He later told this publication his decision was based on “the Australian Government … not currently [recognising] a Palestinian state”.
Following the council meeting, Ms Chapple took to Twitter to thank the Australian Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) and local Palestinian members for their “guidance” and “advocacy” before signing off with the hashtag “Free Palestine”.
APAN president Nasser Mashni said it was “the right the to do” and he was “encouraged by the decision … since the council has flown many international flags”, including the Israeli and Greek flag already this year.
He said those who fly the flag across the globe “shows that the world does not support this violent repression” by an Israeli Government he said “forbids the flying of the Palestinian flag” and often imprisoning those who choose to do so.
“This flag raising … will remind all people of Randwick that … we must redouble our efforts to call Israel to account for its occupation,” he said.
Maroubra resident Michelle Berkon said “as a Jewish Australian, and descendant of Holocaust survivors” she welcomed the move.
She said she was “deeply distressed” by Randwick Council’s decision to fly the Israeli flag and in turn ignoring community protest.
“[The Israeli flag] glorifies not only the brutal oppression of the Palestinians, but the ruthless exploitation of Jewish identity and suffering,” Ms Berkon said.
“Palestinian Australians deserve recognition for their contribution to this community … [it’s] the least the council can do.”
The comments were echoed by Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author of The Palestine Laboratory. who said the discussion about the Palestinian struggle was becoming “more normalised” and it was time for the federal Labor Party to recognise Palestine.
The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies have been contacted for comment.
Chief executive Darren Bark had supported Randwick Council’s decision to fly the Israeli flag on April 26, saying it was “a message of inclusivity for the area’s largest Jewish population.