End this ‘cruel, barbaric use of force’ on Gaza – WILPF plea to NZ

Palestinian NZ women speaking at the Gaza ceasefire rally
Palestinian NZ women speaking at the Gaza ceasefire rally in Auckland's Te Komititanga Square last Sunday. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report

Asia Pacific Report

The Aotearoa chapter of the Women’s International league for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) has appealed to the New Zealand government to call out Israel over the “cruel and barbaric use of force” in Gaza and demand a permanent ceasefire.

The league’s open letter was sent to Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters today as Israeli tanks took over the Rafah crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt and aircraft bombarded residential homes.

This may be the start of the long threatened assault on southern Gaza where 1.6 million people have been sheltering since the end of last year.

The border attack comes after Israel announced it would continue its military operation in Rafah even after Hamas had accepted a Gaza ceasefire proposal put forward by Qatari and Egyptian mediators.

WILPF works to end and prevent war, ensure that women are represented at all levels in the peace-building process, defend the human rights of women, and promote social, economic and political justice.

The WILPF open letter also condemned the closure of the global Al Jazeera television network’s operation in Israel. It said:

“Kia ora Prime Minister Luxon and Minister of Foreign Affairs Peters,

“The closure of Al Jazeera media in Israel at the same time as the Israeli occupation forces initiate the long-planned invasion of southern Gaza — an act deplored by many around the world – should prompt all democratic governments to call an end to this cruel and barbaric use of force in Gaza, along with settler violence in the West Bank

“Palestinians have been ordered to move but, as I am sure you are aware, there is no safe place to move to.

“Thousands more Palestinians will die if the Israeli government continue their genocidal practices.

“I call on you as the New Zealand government and representatives of us all to call Israel out and demand a permanent ceasefire.

“New Zealand governments have spoken up in former times, at the League of Nations and at the United Nations, including against the genocide in Rwanda.

“Government reiterated its support for a two-state solution but Israeli impunity will prevent that outcome.

“One small state can start a trend.

“If the government is unable or unwilling to call an end to the Israeli invasion and a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, can you tell [us] the reasons, please.”


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