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Supporters of Israel Rally at Parliament

Published: Wed 14 Jan 2009 04:04 PM
Supporters of Israel Rally at Parliament
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Over one hundred people rallied on the steps of Parliament today promoting the slogan “Palestinians yes, Hamas no”. Demonstrators waved Israeli flags and brandished posters calling for condemnation of Hamas’ rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
The rally consisted of speeches and then a minutes silence to mourn the death and suffering of those involved in the conflict.
Most demonstrators were from Wellington’s Jewish community, but the group included secular sympathisers of Israel.
Protesters held olive branches, a symbol of peace across the Abrahamic faiths.
“What we are aiming for, is peace for Israel, peace for the Palestinians, peace for the Middle East and peace for the whole world.” said protest organiser David Zwartz.
Zwartz called the rally a ‘simple protest’.
“We are not giving you children dressed in mock blood” said Zwartz.
Yesterday, a protest organised by ‘Christians for Justice in Palestine’ featured a "die in", where protesters adorned themselves bloodied in bandages and dropped to the ground.
Today’s protesters delivered two open letters to MPs Ross Robertson and Keith Locke.
Ross Robertson is a Labour MP for Manukau East and is Chair of the ‘Israel Parliamentary Friendship Group’.
Locke, the Green Party’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs has repeatedly condemned Israel, and has called on the New Zealand Government to do so as well.
“New Zealand should be providing some moral leadership amid an insipid response from other Western nations. The Bush administration is backing Israel's murderous assault, and European nations are restricting themselves to calling on both sides to cease fire.”
“Of course, we want both sides to stop the violence. But the pressure should be focused on Israel, which is causing such massive destruction and 99% of the casualties.”
Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully has refused to take a side on the issue.
“The New Zealand government is not prepared to choose sides in the conflict… Both sides need to step back from the brink. Israel must cease attacks on Palestinian targets and Hamas must cease the flow of mortar bombs and rockets into Israel.”
The United Nations reports that 952 Palestinians have died since the conflict began eighteen days ago, including 292 children and 75 women. Israel reports to have suffered 13 casualties, 10 of them soldiers (including four deaths from "friendly fire"). Three Israeli civilians have been killed by rockets fired into Israel from Gaza by Hamas.
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Scoop Audio (18 Minutes): Audio of speakers David Zwartz, David Schnelenberg and Tomir Sagi. Unfortunately, The first part of David Zwartz’s speech was not recorded.
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Images of the protest follow.


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Other resources:
Protest Statement - Rally at Parliament: "Palestinians yes, Hamas no" Open Letter to Ross Robertson, MP Labour Open Letter to Mr Locke, MP Green Party Scoop Full Coverage - Gaza Airstrikes
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