Key PointsBowen said the government welcomed the release of hostages.Thousands rallied in Sydney to demand the release of remaining hostages in Gaza.A pro-Palestinian rally will be held in Sydney on Sunday afternoon.
Israel will only be “secure and free” when Palestinians are, Cabinet Minister Chris Bowen says as Israel and Hamas swapped prisoners for hostages in a deal.
Hamas released 13 Israelis and on Saturday local time while Israel released dozens of Palestinian detainees and prisoners.
Bowen said the government welcomed the release of hostages and reaffirmed the government’s view that Israel had rights and obligations to follow under international law.
“Israel can only really be secure and free when Palestine is secure and free, and ultimately, that is our long-term objective,” he told ABC TV’s Insiders on Sunday.
He defended she made calling for “steps towards” a ceasefire in Gaza.
“We all want to see these arrangements become more permanent because that is the pathway to peace,” he said.
‘Appalled at the anti-Semitism’
Meanwhile, Sydney’s against anti-Semitism in Martin Place on Sunday morning, demanding the remainder of the hostages in Gaza be released.
Independent MP Allegra Spender, whose Sydney electorate has one of the highest Jewish populations in the nation, spoke at the rally, along with Senator Andrew Bragg and former NSW treasurer Eric Roozendaal.
“I have been appalled at the anti-Semitism I had seen before October 7 but absolutely since then,” Spender said.
“I know that the Jewish community is not the only community that is targeted.
“I had a young Palestinian woman come to me and say … she was told to basically go back to the Kasbah. That is not Australian values either.”
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive Alex Ryvchin said his community was relieved and grateful “that some of the most vulnerable hostages including babies and the elderly are now free”.
“But it is difficult to feel joy knowing that some of the hostages are orphaned or the last surviving members of their families,” he said in a statement.
Rally organiser Avi Afrat told AAP there could be no real ceasefire until all the hostages were freed.
“Of course, it makes some kind of help, but people are still sad. There are still women and kids that are being held.”
Lidia Thorpe speaks at Free Palestine rally
Outside Victoria’s State Library on Sunday, former Greens turned independent Senator Lidia Thorpe spoke at a Free Palestine rally, saying Australia’s Indigenous community knew what Palestinians were enduring.
“We are sorry that you have lost so many babies and so many family members,” she said.
“We understand that pain and we stand with you every minute of every day.”
She apologised for not speaking out earlier, citing living at home under police protection for months.
Draped in a scarf emblazoned with a Palestinian flag, Thorpe said she would return to Canberra on Sunday and vowed to wear the attire into the Senate chamber and make a statement on Monday and every day the war continues.
More to call for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza were held in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth on Sunday.
More than 14,000 Palestinians have been killed since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza in response to the 7 October attack when Hamas fighters rampaged through southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 hostages.
Opposition legal affairs spokeswoman Michaelia Cash criticised Anthony Albanese’s response to the conflict.
“The prime minister should have come out immediately, in a strong way, and stood alongside Peter Dutton, and absolutely condemned Hamas and stood with Israel,” she told Sky News. “He was weak in that regard.”
Whilst Palestine is not universally recognised as an independent state, including by Australia, for the last 11 years it has been accepted as a non-member observer in the United Nations, which considers its territory to be occupied by Israel.