Palestinian Mai Tamimi discusses the recent Gaza war with
fellow University of Otago panelists (from left) Emeritus
Prof Jim Flynn, Prof Andrew Bradstock and Prof Kevin
Clements. Photo by Craig Baxter.
There is scope for the New Zealand Government to do more
to counter the "mutual tragedy" highlighted by the recent Gaza
war, several participants in a University of Otago panel
About 50 members of the public attended the 12.30pm
discussion, focusing on "The Gaza Trap", held on campus and
co-ordinated by the university's National Centre for Peace
and Conflict Studies.
One of the panelists, Mai Tamimi, a Palestinian and Dunedin
resident who has completed an Otago PhD in human geography,
said she had spent many sleepless nights during the Gaza
She had been following news bulletins and trying to keep in
touch, via the internet, with friends and family in Gaza, to
check they were safe.
More than 30 Palestinian children and many other people had
She felt "very proud" New Zealand had recently voted to give
Palestine observer status at the United Nations.
The "window of hope" for a Middle East peace settlement was
still open, albeit by only a small fraction.
An Otago University politics scholar, Emeritus Prof Jim
Flynn, said the recent conflict highlighted the "mutual
tragedy" facing both Palestinians and Israelis.
Another panelist, Prof Andrew Bradstock, who is director of
the university's Centre for Theology and Public Issues, said
later there was scope for the New Zealand Government to use
its good offices to promote genuine peace and understanding
in the Middle East.
Another panelist, Associate Prof Richard Jackson, of the
national centre, said violence would not ultimately resolve
the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and he urged more publicity
and support for non-violent forms of conflict resolution.
Prof Kevin Clements, director of the national centre, chaired