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Wgtn. Groups Protest Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

Wellington Palestine Group
PO BOX 642

Wellington Groups Protest Israeli War Crimes in Gaza

The Wellington Palestine Group and Peace Action Wellington say the New Zealand government is so influenced by the Israeli lobby that it can't get its facts right.

The two groups are protesting outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Lambton Quay on Friday 14th July at 12:00/Midday, at what they term Israel war crimes in Gaza.

The groups say the statement made by New Zealand at the United Nations in Geneva last week is wrong in fact, and so far from the fundamental cause of the conflict, that the statement is effectively a coded justification for massive Israeli attacks that amount to collective punishment.

The New Zealand statement, read to a special session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, condemned what it called the 'loss of innocent lives on both sides'. It also called on the Hamas government to reinstate the ceasefire it had held until Israeli assassination squads killed a Palestinian leader and Israeli shelling killed a family of 8 on a Gaza beach on 9 June.

WPG spokesperson Omar Khamoun says the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs has its facts seriously wrong.

"There have been no Israeli civilian casualties. The many civilian casualties have all been Palestinians on the Gaza side. It might be understandable that our Ministry has been hoodwinked by Israeli hysteria over a few retaliatory but ill-directed home made rockets, but in the meantime the Israeli armed forces have fired thousands of rounds of high explosive artillery pieces into civilian areas of Gaza."

"Targeting bridges and electricity supplies, shows Israel is simply trying to intimidate the entire 1.4 million population in Gaza. Ever since Hamas won the election, Israel has been trying to starve the people into reversing the election. Now it is trying to bomb them into submission as well. That sounds like terrorism to me. Such collective punishment is certainly outside the restraints of international law."

Khamoun conceded that New Zealand's expressed concern about the Israeli kidnapping of more than a third of the Hamas government ministers by Israel was what New Zealand should be saying.

However, Khamoun says that New Zealand was totally silent on the root cause of the violence.

"The violence is quite simply because Israel is continuing to take Palestinian land for its settlements. This is in violation of international law, and even the tepid Roadmap for Peace. Palestinians will continue to resist this theft of their land as well as defend the right of Palestinians to return to Palestine."

"Switzerland has roundly condemned Israel, New Zealand should be doing the same. Its voice should be heard calling for Israel to obey international law and Geneva Conventions, to pull down its wall inside the West Bank and to withdraw to the 1967 boundaries. Blaming the occupied as instigators of the violence cannot resolve this humanitarian crisis and will further perpetuate the misery," Khamoun concluded.

Friday 14th July -12:00/Midday
Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade,
195 Lambton Quay.

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