19 Nov 2012

NZ supports call for US to help end Gaza conflict

7:48 pm on 19 November 2012

New Zealand's Minister for Foreign Affairs says there is no sign of a ceasefire in Gaza and it may take international intervention to bring the conflict to a halt.

More than 80 Palestinians are reported to have died since Israeli bombardments began last Wednesday following the killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari. Three Israelis were killed by Palestinian rocket attacks the following day.

Israel is promising to keep up its bombardment of Gaza until Hamas has been forced into submission.

Murray McCully says both sides need to agree to stop firing on each other, but there is no sign of that happening and the New Zealand Government supports a call from British Prime Minister David Cameron for US President Barak Obama to step in.

Mr Obama says a ground war would be a dangerous escalation of the conflict for Hamas and Israel, but supports Israel's right to defend itself from rockets launced by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Mr McCully says the conflict is also on the agenda at the United Nations over the next few days.

Palestinians living in New Zealand and the Jewish Council are shocked and worried by renewed attacks on their homelands.

PHD student Emanal-Zaanin lives in Wellington with her husband and children. She says her elderly mother, father and sisters live in Gaza where air strikes by Israel have been severe and has grave fears for their safety.

New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman says he wants the fighting to stop, particularly as children are being killed.

Mr Goodman puts the blame on Hamas militants, saying they store and fire rockets from populated areas, so retaliation by Israel results in the loss of civilian lives.