© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

Protest over Israeli-Palestine violence in Christchurch

Luka Forman
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Supporters at the "free Palestine" protest in Christchurch.  Luka Forman

A crowd gathered at the Bridge of Remembrance to call for the government to take action about the situation in the Middle East.

The conflict between Israel and Palestine has been going on for over 70 years but has become increasingly violent in the last 11 days. 

Israel has launched multiple airstrikes on the Gaza strip, which is under Palestine rule. Palestine has retaliated with airstrikes.

The death toll sits at 232 for Gaza and 12 for Israel.

A ceasefire has been agreed upon, but the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa organised a protest in Christchurch on Saturday.

Eleven similar protests happened throughout New Zealand.

They were there to protest historic brutality from Isreal as well as the recent airstrikes and the current blockade on the Gaza strip. 

The Israeli blockade restricts movement in and out of Gaza.

John Minto, a member of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, said the government needed to take action. 

"The government needs to put in place sanctions against Israel." 

He also called on the government to close the Israeli Embassy in Wellington. 

Minto compared the protests to those against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. 

Maha Elmadani from Palestine said Kiwis needed to educate themselves on the situation.

"The media has historically painted a very one-sided picture of Israel as the only democracy in the Middle East... but that is definitely not the case." 

She said New Zealanders needed to understand that there was an apartheid state in the 21st century. 

The Zionist Federation of New Zealand said in a press release that it supported Israel's right to defend itself and keep its citizens safe. 

It said the conflict was due to Palestinian leaders not recognising the Jewish people as the ancestral owners of the land.