Redfern Convenience Store owner sparks backlash after praising Hamas terrorists’ attack on Israel

The owner of one of Australia’s most famous convenience stores has doubled down on his support for the Palestinian attack on Israel, despite copping massive backlash.

At least 700 Israeli civilians have been killed and thousands more injured in the largest and most well-coordinated strike on the Jewish state in 50 years on the weekend.

As Sydney’s Palestinian community gathered in Lakemba on Sunday night to celebrate the attack on Israel, Redfern Convenience Store owner Hazem Sedda pledged his support for his homeland.

The inner-city business owner is the son of Palestinian immigrants who fled to Sydney for a better life more than two decades ago.

‘God, help the Palestinian people gain their freedom; this is the only way to get our freedom back,’ he declared.

‘Enough is enough. The suffering of the Palestinian people from occupation and violence is a painful and complex story that spans many decades. Palestinians live under difficult conditions and ongoing conflicts that encompass several aspects.

Redfern Convenience Store owner Hazem Sedda sparked a divided reaction when he expressed his support for the Palestines

‘For over 75 years, Palestinians have suffered from Israeli occupation, which began in 1948, leading to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and the loss of their basic rights.

‘This suffering includes land confiscation, illegal Israeli settlements, family separations, and the plight of Palestinian refugees.

He added holy sites in Palestine have witnessed escalating tensions with continuous violence and clashes.

‘In addition to the occupation, Palestinians also face violence and arbitrary arrests by Israeli forces. This includes the detention of children and youth without fair trials and their confinement in harsh conditions.’

The post generated a mixed reaction, leading Mr Sedda to disable comments on Monday. Some customers pledged to boycott the store, which its owner claims is the ‘Greatest Convenience Store On Earth.’

‘There goes my business,’ one woman wrote.

Another added: ‘Unfollowing!’

Others posted negative online negative reviews.

‘He supports terrorism organisation on his Instagram page,’ one review states.

The backlash prompted the store owner to double down on his comments

The backlash prompted the store owner to double down on his comments

Hazem Sedda shared screenshots of some of the bad reviews after pledging his support for Palestine

Hazem Sedda shared screenshots of some of the bad reviews after pledging his support for Palestine

Mr Sedda was unfazed by the backlash and even shared several negative comments to hit back.

‘This is the extent of what they can do: giving our business a bad review. They believe it can impact on business. Or stop the Palestine from getting their freedom  back. 

He issued a brutal swipe at the haters as he doubled down on his comments. 

For the people who think this post is going to affect our family business, I care deeply about my people, who have been losing their lives in the hundreds at the hands of Israeli forces for the last 75 years,’ he wrote.

‘It’s more likely that I prioritise my concern for my people over my business. End of the line.’ 

The backlash prompted fans to jump to Mr Sedda’s defence and send messages of support and a flood of five star reviews online.

Some customers went as far as vowing to make a 30km trip to Redfern to show their support. 

The store has since become a Redfern icon and amassed a cult following.

High profile fans include 2GB breakfast host Ben Fordham, ABC presenter Annabelle Crabb, US singer Slayyyter and Australian DJ duo, Peking Duk.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned attacks by Hamas against Israel, describing the conflict as a ‘very dark 24 hours’.

The Palestinian militant group, which rules the Gaza Strip and has been classified as a terrorist organisation by Australia since 2001. 

Mr Albanese said no Australians, including ADF personnel, were caught up in the attacks in Israel, but conceded it was still too early to get an accurate assessment.

He said the government stood with Israel.

‘This is an abhorrent attack on Israel. This is indiscriminate. Civilians being targeted, killed and murdered, and as well, many of them being taken as hostages,’ he told ABC’s Insiders program on Sunday.

‘Of course, people are worried about escalation, but Israel has a right to defend itself and it will be doing so.

‘This has been a very dark 24 hours.’

The prime minister confirmed he had spoken with Israel’s ambassador to Australia since the attack.

‘He, of course, was very shaken, as you would expect, and this action is ongoing, it must stop,’ Mr Albanese said.

‘This is a dreadful circumstance that people didn’t see coming.’

Foreign Minister Penny Wong called for the attacks to stop and said Australia recognised Israel’s right to defend itself.

‘Australia unequivocally condemns the attacks on Israel by Hamas including indiscriminate rocket fire on cities & civilians,’ Senator Wong said on X, formerly Twitter.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the coalition ‘utterly condemns the unprovoked and abhorrent attack by militant Hamas on Israel’.

Hazem Sedda is grateful for support from the store's cult following in the wake of the backlash

Hazem Sedda is grateful for support from the store’s cult following in the wake of the backlash

‘It is yet another example of a deliberate act of violence intended to inflict maximum harm on innocent civilians,’ he said.

‘The attack is a provocation. Israel has every right to defend itself in response and to deter future attacks and other acts of aggression, coercion and interference’.

Former Australian ambassador to Israel and Liberal MP Dave Sharma said the attacks by Hamas were ‘unprecedented’.

‘We’ve never seen anything like this from Hamas before in its aggression against Israel,’ he told Sky News on Sunday.

‘There will need to be a lot of analysis and reflection there about what has gone wrong there, because obviously this has always been an active military front for Israel.’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country’s military would retaliate.

‘We are in a war and we will win it,’ he said.

Hamas said the attack was driven by what it said were Israel’s escalated attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, Jerusalem and against Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

Hamas commander Mohammad Deif said it was ‘the day of the greatest battle to end the last occupation on earth’ as residents of Gaza rushed to buy supplies in anticipation of days of conflict ahead.