Randwick City Council not to fly Palestinian flag on the International Day of Solidarity
by GRACE JOHNSON
An extraordinary meeting at Randwick City Council was called on Monday night by Councillor Daniel Rosenfeld, who requested that the Palestinian not be flown on November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
In the background to the motion, Cr Rosenfeld wrote, “I consider the business to be of great urgency given the current War in Israel and the escalating rallying within Australia by pro-Palestinian people.”
Cr Rosenfeld asked council that the endorsed Flying of Flags Policy be enacted immediately and that council “do not fly the Palestinian flag on 29 November 2023 as it was passed at the June meeting to do so.”
Article 4.7 of the Flying of Flags Policy states that flags of other countries can be flown as a show of support in times of crisis.
The original motion also requested that council hold a minute of silence for Israel and “resolve that no foreign flags be flown from today onwards except in accordance with the Randwick Flying of Flags Policy or in accordance with an express resolution of Council.”
The motion was carried with a few amendments, one of which being that a minute of silence be held for all victims from Israel and Palestine.
All four Greens members voted against, and two Labor members abstained.
Cr Rosenfeld spoke with City Hub, saying he was pleased that the motion had passed.
“I just made one amendment, that we hold a minute of silence for all victims, which I was okay with.”
He also expressed support for colleague Shauna Jarrett in City of Sydney Council, who put forward a motion last night that Lord Mayor Clover Moore illuminate the Sydney Town Hall with the colours of the Israeli flag.
“I was quite disappointed with Clover Moore not wanting to show solidarity with the Jewish community and Israel at this time.”
Cr Rosenfeld told City Hub that many members of the Jewish community fear for their safety and are intimidated to walk around, particularly to show their kippah.
The annual observance of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People goes back to 1977.
The day, significant to the Palestinian people, recognises the United Nations’ General Assembly adoption of resolution 181, which came to be known as the Partition Resolution. That resolution saw the establishment in Palestine of a “Jewish state” and an “Arab state.”
The International Day of Solidarity traditionally urges that the international community call on Israel to grant Palestinians their human rights and action that Palestinians be granted sovereignty and independence from Israeli occupation.
Dr Max Parasol, addressing council, said, “Unfortunately, there is an absence of moral clarity and a reduction to simplistic identity politics. That’s why at this time, flying a Palestinian flag in isolation is dangerous. It could easily be misconstrued as supporting a violent struggle against Israel and the Jewish community.
“In the absence of an Israeli flag next to it, you might as well fly a Hamas flag, legitimising the offence of October 7. If you truly care about peace, you cannot fly a Palestinian flag on its own.”
A spokesperson from Randwick City Council said “Randwick Council has made this decision to avoid inflaming what is currently a tense international situation and to avoid sending a message to the community that could be mistaken as support for Hamas.”
The statement released by the council noted that the Israeli flag was flown on April 26 as part of Yom Ha’atzmaut marking the 75th anniversary of the declaration of independence, but that fifteen councillors supported the motion not to fly the Palestinian flag, given the current conflict.