"He is not Hamas, he's not a murderer, he's never held a gun" said Palestine Action Group spokeswoman Diana Abdel-Rahman as she held the picture of a 29-year-old Palestinian killed in the conflict in Gaza in recent weeks.
Ms Abdel-Rahman spoke as part of a rally for Gaza in Civic on Saturday, at which about 180 people listened to six speakers while holding Palestine flags and signs such as "Stop the massacre in Gaza".
The crowd heard the young man had been praying in a mosque when it was hit by an Israeli rocket about three weeks ago.
Ms Abdel-Rahman called for an end to fighting, but said living standards also had to improve.
"We want an immediate ceasefire, but we can't go back to the old conditions," she said.
"Gaza is half the size of Canberra with four times the population - in the last four days Israel has demolished 40 per cent of the land."
Unions ACT secretary Kim Sattler said she had spoken to friends in Gaza, who had a clear message.
"One of the first things they said is "Life is precious, but it's not more precious than dignity'."
The organisers announced that a pro-Palestinian rally would be held outside the Israeli Embassy next Sunday.
The current bloodshed has now exceeded that seen in Gaza in 2008-09, with more than 1600 Palestinians killed and more than 8400 wounded since Israel began its operations on July 8. A Gaza-based human rights centre has estimated 80 per cent of those are civilians. Israel has lost 63 of its own soldiers and three civilians.
The UN and US President Barack Obama blamed the breakdown in the planned 72-hour ceasefire on attacks by Hamas.