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Mass Protest Planned To Urge Action On UN Ceasefire Resolution

Yesterday the UN Security Council passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza. This significant step and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza prompted an urgent debate in the New Zealand Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition, Rt Hon Chris Hipkins noted “The humanitarian situation in Gaza is now well past crisis point. Three quarters of Gaza's 2.2 million people are internally displaced, more than a million people are crammed into Rafah, a tiny sliver of land which now has a population five times what it was before the war…. Thousands of Palestinians, the majority of them women and children, have been killed. The lives of the victims have been changed: horrific scenes of lives destroyed, children whose parents, siblings, and grandparents have been killed, are on our TV screens on a nightly basis. There are no places for people to go for safety.”

Hipkins demanded the NZ Government state its position and go further than it has to date calling for steps towards a ceasefire, it needs to call for an immediate ceasefire.

The Green Party’s Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Teanau Tuiono, also spoke to the need for the Government to act to support the UN resolution for a ceasefire, to support South Africa’s case to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to ensure wider accountability for breaches of international humanitarian law and to grant emergency visas to Palestinians with relatives in New Zealand.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Rt Hon Winston Peters, acknowledged the humanitarian crisis and the government’s grave concerns about Israel’s signalled military offensive into Rafah. The Minister stated Israel must not undertake this offensive, it must meet its obligations under international law, and there needs to be an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the release of all hostages and significantly increased flow of humanitarian assistance.

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Justice for Palestine welcomes the statements expressed in Parliament across the political spectrum in support of a ceasefire, but urges the Government to back up its words with action.

Samira Zaiton, Justice for Palestine spokesperson said: “The Government has finally got in behind the demand for an immediate ceasefire, which Justice for Palestine and thousands of people in New Zealand and around the world have been calling for since October last year. But they need to back that up with action. The Government should impose diplomatic consequences on Israel, grant emergency visas to Palestinians, join South Africa’s case to the ICJ, and increase urgently needed funding to UNRWA.”

Justice for Palestine is organising a mass rally and march in Wellington next Sunday, 7 April, All Out for Palestine, where thousands will gather to show their support for Palestine and to demand the government take meaningful action.

Event details: Sunday, 7 April, 11am at Civic Square, march to Parliament at 11:30 am

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