Group calls for sister city status with Gaza
BYRON Friends of Palestine are calling for sister city status between Byron Bay and Gaza.
The group launched a petition on change.org calling for Byron Shire Council and the Gaza Interior Ministry to forge a link as a way to "identify with this victimised community, raise funds, advertise its plight and lobby on its behalf”.
The conflict in Gaza may seem a far cry the beach lifestyle in Byron Bay, and while the group said: "Both Byron and Gaza are coastal communities and both have a lively surf scene”, the town's residents lead very different lives.
The group said: "Gaza is home to two million people who are mainly refugees cast out of the West Bank.”
They said since 2008 three wars have left more than 2200 Palestinians dead and more than 11,100 others injured.
They claim "Gaza's fisherfolk are limited to only 6kms offshore and are regularly harassed by the Israeli navy who confiscate their boats and shoot them”.
"Gazan farmers fare no better, having to endure Israeli gunfire from across the border as they tend their fields. Conditions are so bad in bombed out Gaza that the UN estimates it will be uninhabitable by 2020.”
So far, 529 people have signed the petition.