Gareth Smith (NSW writes to The Echo on Palestine and boycotts, 27Sep11 October 2, 2011

Byron People for Peace & Justice (BPPJ) morphed out of Byron Friends of East Timor. We stand and act for fair play, for peace with justice and stood up against Suharto’s supporters as we now support the Palestinian bid for statehood. In 1999 as a UN District Electoral Officer, I saw firsthand the violence in East Timor by Indonesian government-backed militias. While then Foreign Minister Alexander Downer was telling the Australian public that Indonesia was trying to control these killers, I visited the Young Boy militia in the Indonesian army base in Uato Carabau, Viqueque where they were being feted. The just cause of East Timorese independence was hindered for decades by Australia’s collusion with Indonesia and now Australia, in collusion with Israel and the US, is planning to either abstain or vote no in regard to Palestine’s UN bid for statehood recognition. In light of The Echo’s Backlash comments re the Palestine/Israel conflict I should like to remind The Echo of Edward Said’s comments about the Palestinian struggle: ‘It is a just cause, a noble ideal, a moral quest for equality and human rights.’

While Vic Alhadeff, Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies, has had many letters published, it is a source of profound regret that Australians for Palestine’s Moammar Mashni’s one letter to The Echo was ignored. Also ignored was a photograph we submitted of two men sharing a keffiyeh, one Palestinian and one Israeli, from our recent Rally for an Independent Palestine. This future ideal and depiction of brotherhood was not published by The Echo. We counted The Echo as an ally in the struggle for a free East Timor and would like to think you are on side in this historical quest for Palestinian Justice.

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