In the wake of the Israel/Hamas ceasefire, Green MP Keith Locke wants New Zealand to follow the lead of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and speak out more strongly on the Gaza issue.
“To date, both Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Minister Murray McCully have been too timid in their response,” said Mr Locke, Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson.
“Their weak comments are embarrassing alongside the strong criticism of Israel from other world leaders.
“Our government should be joining UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in calling for a quick withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza.
“The presence of Israeli troops in Gaza is the major barrier to reaching an enduring ceasefire.
“Our government should also be backing Gordon Brown’s call yesterday to ‘end Gaza’s economic isolation by reopening the crossings that link it to the outside world.’
“Israel’s blockade of Gaza since 2007 lies at the heart of the conflict and its ending is key to any solution.
“New Zealand should also take up the call of UN officials for Israel’s ‘war crimes’ in Gaza to be investigated. It is clear that many Israeli planes and tanks hit many non-military targets, including UN buildings. Of course, the Hamas rockets sent into Israel, which also killed civilians, were also in violation of the accepted rules of war.
“The crimes Israel has committed against the people of Gaza are of such magnitude that no country which treasures human rights can ignore them.”
Keith Locke will participating in a Wellington protest march on the Gaza tragedy tomorrow, Tuesday 20 January, which begins in Cuba Mall at 12 noon. He will be addressing the marchers when they reach Parliament. The protest is organized by the Wellington Palestine Group.