‘Food not bombs’ Gaza protesters picket MFAT offices in Auckland

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PSNA spokesperson Neil Scott reports to the pro-Palestine picket outside the MFAT Auckland office
PSNA spokesperson Neil Scott reports to the pro-Palestine picket outside the MFAT Auckland office about the refusal of officials to meet them today. Image: APR

Asia Pacific Report

About 20 pro-Palestinian protesters picketed New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) office in Auckland today, demanding a stronger stance by the government against the genocidal Israeli war on Gaza and for an immediate ceasefire.

They carried placards, posters and banners declaring “Food not bombs for the tamariki [children] of Gaza”, “Israel end your apartheid” and “Grant the visas”, referring to a call for special humanitarian visas for Palestinians victimised by the war.

A delegation of four protesters tried to gain access to MFAT’s office in Quay Street, near the Viaduct, to deliver a message for Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters.

Security guards denied them entry but agreed to “pass on” their protest message.

Condemning the failure of MFAT officials to meet them in the office or come down to the protest, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA) spokesperson Neil Scott said through a loudhailer: “Not even one person from MFAT would come down.”

Scott criticised the New Zealand government and Foreign Affairs Minister Peters for failing to condemn Israeli apartheid, saying this was globally proven.

He cited at least six damning international reports on Israeli apartheid, including the 2021 B’Tselem (Israeli NGO) report “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid” and the 2022 Amnesty International report “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians – cruel system of domination and crime against humanity”.

He also called on the New Zealand government to expel the Israeli ambassador.

The PSNA flyer on New Zealand and Israel's apartheid
The PSNA flyer on New Zealand and Israel’s apartheid – a “crime against humanity”. Image: PSNA screenshot

Scott contrasted the weak stance of the New Zealand government which has so far failed to condemn Israel over its atrocities with other countries that have been outspoken in their condemnation.

At least 10 countries, including Bahrain, Belize, Brazil, Chad, Chile, Colombia, Jordan, Honduras, South Africa and Turkey, have recalled their ambassadors to Israel or severed ties altogether.

South Africa’s International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor has also announced that nationals who have served with the Israeli military would be prosecuted upon re-entering the country.

Pro-Palestinian protesters have previously picketed the Television New Zealand and Radio NZ offices in Auckland calling for “truthful” unbiased news on the Gaza war.

The "Food not bombs" protest outside the Auckland MFAT offices
The “Food not bombs” protest outside the Auckland MFAT offices today. Image: APR

Helicopter fires on aid seekers
At least 20 Palestinians have been killed and more than 150 wounded in northern Gaza City after Israeli forces attacked a crowd of people waiting for humanitarian assistance in latest developments, reports Al Jazeera.

Dozens dead and wounded as Israeli helicopter opens fire
Dozens dead and wounded as Israeli helicopter opens fire on starving Gazans. Image: Al Jazeera screenshot APR

Gaza’s Health Ministry has called the attack “a new, premeditated massacre”.

At least 31,341 Palestinians have now been killed and 73,134 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7.

The death toll in Israel from Hamas’s October 7 attack stands at 1,139 with dozens taken captive.

Meanwhile, Hamas has announced that a new truce proposal has been submitted to mediators in Egypt and Qatar, and outlines its “view on the prisoner swap”.

Reports said that the offer involved an initial release of Israelis including women, children, elderly and ill captives in exchange for the release of 700-1000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons.

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