New Zealand has today joined others in the international community calling for a humanitarian pause in Gaza and the immediate establishment of humanitarian corridors and safe areas to protect innocent civilians living in the Gaza strip.
In a statement to the United Nations Security Council this morning, Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins called on all parties involved to act in accordance with international law, and also “demonstrate basic humanity”.
“The provision of essential support to innocent civilians living in Gaza, such as food, water, fuel, and shelter, as well as the facilitation of humanitarian aid is an obligation under the Fourth Geneva Convention that must be upheld immediately,” said Mr Hipkins.
“We call on all parties to the conflict to commit to a humanitarian pause and for Israel and Egypt to use a cessation of hostilities to rapidly facilitate unimpeded humanitarian assistance to civilians living in Gaza.”
Mr Hipkins said the volume of aid arriving in Gaza must significantly increase above recent levels to ensure the basics of life can be maintained “to the millions living in Gaza who have nowhere to go”.
“Humanitarian corridors must be established in order for sufficient aid to regularly flow into Gaza, and safe areas must be put in place that are free from military targeting to provide a refuge for innocent civilians who have nowhere to go,” he said.
“We are appalled by Hamas’s brutality, their targeting of civilians, and the taking of hostages, which are in clear violations of international law. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”
Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta said it was “intolerable to see civilians continue to suffer disproportionately as innocent victims of this conflict”.
“New Zealand supports the right of Israel to defend itself against Hamas’s terrorist attacks, but the way it does so matters. It must abide by international law, exercise restraint, and prioritise the protection of civilians,” she said.
“Ultimately there is no military solution that will bring about a just and lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.
“We call on all parties and the international community to take urgent action to restart the Middle East Peace Process as the best way to ensure enduring peace and security for all those who live in Israel and Palestine,” said Minister Mahuta.