Vigil message from Illawarra to Gaza

A Palestinian woman reacts as she sits on the rubble of her destroyed house after returning to Beit Hanoun town, in the northern Gaza Strip. Picture: REUTERS

A Palestinian woman reacts as she sits on the rubble of her destroyed house after returning to Beit Hanoun town, in the northern Gaza Strip. Picture: REUTERS

South Coast Labour Council Secretary Arthur Rorris says a candlelight vigil being held in Wollongong on Thursday evening will send a message of peace and hope to the people of Gaza.

Gaza officials say more than 1800 Palestinians have been killed since the Israeli army launched a military campaign on July 8 in response to rocket attacks on Israeli towns. Sixty-seven Israelis have also died in the conflict.

"We understand that the politics of the Middle East are very involved and confusing to many people in this country, but humanity must prevail," Mr Rorris said.

"Out of all the destruction, the purpose of this vigil is to say that peace and hope will prevail."

The Catholic Bishop of Wollongong Peter Ingham will deliver a "message of peace from all faiths" at the vigil, and representatives from the Palestinian and Jewish communities will also speak.

Money raised in the Illawarra by aid agency Australian People for Health, Education and Development Abroad has gone towards humanitarian programs in Gaza, including the recently destroyed El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital.

Mr Rorris said he was saddened to learn the house of Dr Mona el-Farra, who visited the Illawarra in 2013 to speak at fund-raising events for the hospital, had also been bombed. Nine members of Dr el-Farra's family were killed in the attack, including five children.

The vigil is being held in Civic Square, Wollongong, from 6pm.

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