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Palestine anger reignited by Israel embassy move

Aug 18th, 2009 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

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ABOVE:  Heleyni Pratley (centre) and Alastair Reith (right) lead the protest march.

By Liz Proctor and Carl Suurmond

ISRAEL’S plans to reopen its New Zealand embassy may be a year away, but the announcement has  sparked protest in the capital.

A group calling itself the Vic Palestine Group has made its objections known, starting with a street march of about 30 people from Cuba St to Parliament.

Prior to the march, Cuba St bystanders near the Bucket Fountain heard heated speeches condemning the actions of the Israeli government.

“When human rights are under attack, stand up, fight back”, “racist Palestinian evictions”, “Free, Free Palestine”, “Israel, you can’t hide – we charge you with genocide”, and “Israel’s a racist state” were some of the chants echoing around the city’s streets.

Granted a right of reply, Wellington Regional Jewish Council chairman (and former honorary consul) David Zwartz objected to the protestors’ claims of Israeli human rights abuses and genocide.

Much to the outrage of Palestinian supporters, Mr Zwartz attributed the eviction of Palestinians by Israel forces to “non-payment of rent”.

palestinemain2During the Palestinian sympathisers’ march along Lambton Quay – preceded by a lone Israeli supporter wearing an Israeli flag – some motorists shouted in frustration because they were unable to get past.

Outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the corner of Panama St, demands were made for the Government to condemn Israeli behaviour..

The Israeli Embassy in New Zealand was closed in 2002 following budget cuts, but plans to reopen in 2010 were announced last week.

According to the Embassy of Israel in Canberra, an embassy here will promote dialogue on international matters and sustain the connection with New Zealand’s 6000-strong Jewish community.

Relations between the countries were strained in 2004 after Mossad agents were convicted of fraudulently trying to obtain New Zealand passports.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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2 comments
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  1. Cheers Whitireia, if only thr mainstream media were half as good as you lot 😉 If you have any other ones you haven’t thrown up I’m keen to have them.

  2. By ‘ones’ I meant photos… Brainfart

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