Urgent Ceasefire In Gaza Imperative

Published: Fri 9 Jan 2009 09:07 AM
Rt Hon Helen Clark
Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs
9 January 2009 Media Statement
Urgent Ceasefire In Gaza Imperative
Rt Hon Helen Clark, Labour Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, said today that the continuing horrific news from Gaza makes an urgent ceasefire imperative.
Helen Clark said that most people watching the ongoing carnage and destruction in Gaza would find it impossible to understand why a lasting ceasefire is taking so long to be put in place.
“Three hour pauses in the Israeli air strikes are no substitute for what is needed - a lasting ceasefire which brings relief to the shattered families and communities of Gaza", Helen Clark said.
“The news today that the United Nations has suspended its relief work in Gaza because of the extreme danger to its workers speaks volumes. This comes two days after the devastating bombing of UN schools where civilians were sheltering.
“Now with rockets being fired from Lebanon as well as Gaza into Israel, there is growing concern about both a widening and a further escalation of the conflict.
“I said at the outset of this conflict that Israel was jeopardising its own security by mounting its offensive in Gaza. The only route to peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians lies through negotiation.
"The time has come for the permanent members of the Security Council to cast aside their differences and unite around a ceasefire resolution which binds both sides and allows full access for essential supplies to Gaza. There is no point in endless relitigation of why the last truce broke down - that only condemns the people of Gaza to more suffering while politicians and diplomats argue.
"It is shocking in the 21st century to see this extraordinary violence which is destroying the lives of so many innocent people.
"The time for leadership by the Security Council is now - and all governments, including that of New Zealand, should be making that clear to its fifteen members", Helen Clark said.

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