Palestinian supporters to rally at ports across Australia

Supporters of Palestine will rally at docks around the nation as they ramp up calls for shipping companies to declare any links with Israel, as part of an ongoing call for sanctions.

Demonstrations will be held at Port Botany Boat Ramp Sydney, Station Pier in Melbourne, the Port of Brisbane, Port Adelaide and docks in Hobart.

Action organized by Unionists for Palestine also includes rallies at Parliament House in Darwin and Customs House Plaza in Newcastle.

Construction, Forestry and Maritime Employees Union national secretary Christy Cain said breaking commercial and other ties with Israel was a matter of urgency.

“As unionists, we are proud to continue a long tradition of international solidarity,” Ms Cain said.

Her sentiments were echoed by Jamie Newlyn, Maritime Union of Australia assistant national secretary, who said workers had a right to know what happened to the efforts of their labor.

“As unionists, we believe in standing in solidarity with oppressed peoples everywhere in the world,” he said.

The unions are demanding shipping companies that operate in Australian ports declare any trade or cargo with Israel.

They also want trade sanctions – under the global Palestinian-led movement promoting boycotts, divestments, and economic sanctions against Israel – and are demanding charges be dropped against Maritime Union Australia members who were arrested at a previous protest.

It comes after the International Court of Justice’s landmark ruling ordering Israel to stop its military assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

The world court has no power to enforce its orders.

But Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa Regional Director Sally Abi-Khalil called on the Israeli government to comply with the ruling and let in aid.

“All states have a legal and moral responsibility to ensure Israel complies with this order, and that the hundreds of thousands of people sheltering in Rafah are protected,” Ms Abi-Khalil said.

The Zionist Federation of Australia called on the Australian government to reject the ruling.

“This order sends a message to Hamas and terrorist organizations worldwide that they can commit barbaric attacks and then use civilian populations as human shields to gain immunity, and erode any remaining credibility of the (court),” president Jeremy Leibler said.

“Now is the time for the Australian government to reject this order and reaffirm its commitment to stand by Israel’s right to self-defence and remove Hamas from power.”

Hamas attacked Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking more than 200 shelters, according to local authorities.

Israel’s counter-offensive in Gaza has since killed more than 35,000 people, the local health ministry says, with many more Palestinians facing starvation as Israel chokes the flow of aid into the territory.