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New Zealand Has Middle East Role To Play

The growing bloodbath in the Middle East is a tragedy that demands action from world leaders and New Zealand can't sit on the sidelines, Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Keith Locke said today.

At least 30 Palestinians have been killed over the past 24 hours in the latest Israeli raids into the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"It's an invasion that pits tanks, armoured carriers and attack helicopters against slingshots," said Keith Locke. "The cycle of violence this creates is getting out of control.

"It is incumbent on all nations to do their utmost to restrain Israel and to help the parties down the path of peace. Instead, an international paralysis seems to have set-in.

"We have applauded the stand taken by Prime Minister Helen Clark against Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe and we call on her now to be equally vociferous in condemning the slaughter of Palestinians," Keith Locke said.

"When Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff met with Yasser Arafat last year he had this to say: 'It is in the interests of the international community including New Zealanders to work together to try to defuse the Israeli-Palestinian problem...'

"In the months since Mr Goff offered his help, the 'problem' has become a calamity. New Zealand - and the rest of the world - must act before it becomes a catastrophe."


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