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Students Call NZ To Speak Out On Israel Aggression

Press release: Students for Justice in Palestine
15 July 2006

Students Call NZ To Speak Out On Israel Aggression

The University of Auckland's Students for Justice in Palestine call on the New Zealand government to pressure Israel to end the callous bombing raids in occupied Gaza and nearby Lebanon that has resulted in the death of civilians on both sides. The international community has failed yet again to address the core issues of the Middle East conflict by only calling for 'restraint' alone, thereby paving the way for another regional conflict.

Israel is in breach of international law in occupied Gaza strip where under the Fourth Geneva Convention it has a responsibility to the population under occupation. Instead, occupied Gaza has become an open prison.

There is a vital need for an international humanitarian relief effort for the Palestinian residents in Gaza facing deteriorating humanitarian conditions -a clear breach of the rights protected in International Humanitarian Law. Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court includes this as war crimes: "Intentionally directing attacks against the civilian population as such or against individual civilians not taking direct part in hostilities" and "Intentionally directing attacks against civilian objects".

The current tragedy between Israel, the Palestinians and Hizbullah of Lebanon is a recent manifestation of the failure of the international community to rein in Israeli military incursions as a collective punishment, and violation of numerous UN resolutions calling on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories and to return to its 1967 borders.

Israel has therefore acted with utter impunity displaying itself to be a careless unilateralist. Consequently, its actions have fed a culture of violence and resentment- stifling any likelihood of perpetual peace.

The international community's submissive rhetoric in response has proven to be ineffective. It should be making a more concerted effort in holding Israel accountable for its breach of international law.

New Zealand- with its duty to its international obligations- should be leading the way in these efforts to prevent another regional war that could devastate and destroy the lives of thousands of people.

ENDS

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