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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 sixth floor office in Quay Street, near the Viaduct, to deliver a message for Foreign 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.”

He 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 will 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: Asia Pacific Report

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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