Gaza death toll 'a blot on the world' - PM

Codepink activists, dressed to symbolise those wounded and killed in Gaza, rally outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Codepink activists, dressed to symbolise those wounded and killed in Gaza, rally outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
Prime Minister John Key says the rising civilian death toll in Gaza and apparent bombing of United Nations-run schools is "a blot on the world as we know it".

This afternoon political parties joined Mr Key is calling for an immediate ceasefire and a long-term solution between Israel and Hamas -- though Mr Key said further action such as sanctions was unlikely.

He said most of the 1300 people killed in fighting between the two regions were civilians.

"These are people that just can't get out of harm's way. I think for most people watching this they would just say it's soul-destroying.

"You've got young children, you've got families - this is a situation which has to end and common sense has got to prevail."

His comments followed reports of further attacks on UN-run schools in Gaza where displaced people were seeking refuge.

Amnesty International described the latest school bombing -- which killed 20 people -- as a possible war crime that required independent investigation.

United Nations officials said it was a disgrace to the world; the UN said it told Israel the position of the school 17 times to ensure it was not targeted.

The strike is the sixth attack on a UN-run school in Gaza since Operation "Protective Edge" began on July 8.

Asked about the apparent targeting of schools, Mr Key said: "If they are, it's very worrying. I don't have all the facts … but I just know well over 1300 people have lost their lives. It's a blot on the world as we currently know it and it's got to end."

He said Israel's argument that people could get out of harm's way if they were given notice was "a bit flawed in its logic" because most of the affected people were refugees who had nowhere to go.

But he stopped short of singling out Israel for condemnation, saying that both sides needed to cease their attacks and find a long-term solution.

"People can say disproportionately … Israel has better capability and more force. But in principle both sides really have to stop."

Labour's foreign affairs spokesman David Shearer, who used to work in Israel for the UN, said Israel's attacks were disproportionate and indiscriminate.

Gaza was essentially a prison camp for Palestinians with 40 per cent unemployment, collapsed infrastructure and food shortages, he said.

"These conditions will inevitably sow the seeds for further conflict if they're not resolved.

"It is not normal for 1.6 million Palestinians to be blockaded into a narrow strip of land, a situation that aptly fits its description as the largest prison camp in the world."

Green Party global affairs spokesperson Kennedy Graham called on the Government to condemn Israel and consider expelling its ambassador to send a strong message.

"We understand that the Israel-Palestine situation is highly complex and that Israel has certain rights as a UN member state, but its bombardment of Gaza in the past few weeks violates the laws of humanity and has to stop."

Dr Graham was meeting with Israeli ambassador Yosef Livne tomorrow to convey his views.

The attack on the UN school came a day after the Gaza Strip's sole power plant was struck and badly damaged.

Philip Luther, Amnesty International director of the Middle East and North Africa programme, said there was no justification for targeting a civilian structure.

"The strike on the power plant, which cut off electricity and running water to Gaza's residents and numerous hospitals, has catastrophic humanitarian implications and is very likely to amount to a war crime."

Mr Key said it was difficult to impose sanctions unless the UN Security Council made a resolution.

Asked about the US role in the conflict, he said Barrack Obama's administration appeared to be "more reserved" in its support of Israel compared to previous administrations.

- Derek Cheng and Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald

Stick to fishing

Rob, And while you're waiting for that bite, you can research the history of Israel. There you will find that the Israelies have lived in the area for centuries and therefore have as much right to the land as any other.

It was the western world, along with Russia, that decided boundaries after WW2. Just how many Palestinians or any other of the Arab nations for that matter, do you think would have survived the Nazi onslaught without protection from the UK, NZ and others?

Not many, I would suggest. The Palestinians' problem is they refuse to sign any peace deal like Egypt and Saudi Arabia have. They have no one to blame for what they are receiving, than themselves.


Solution's a bit more complex

If Australia took over NZ 50 years ago, pushed you out of your home, forced you to live on Stewart island, crammed in another million and a half people, progressively broke all international treaties in order to take more of your land, and all the while BBQed and drank beer on your back lawn ... by now you'd be more than a little peeved. Stick to cars Speedy.

Australians can count their lucky stars then?

Rat1512: Australian's can count their lucky stars then? And by that I mean lucky we don't have an elaborate system of tunnels under the ocean whereby we can infiltrate and cause mahem, murder and abductions at will. The can also count themselves lucky we don't have a seemlingly endless suply of rockets we can fire at them, hundreds a day, at will.
There is one big difference though. As New Zealanders, we would not be ignorant enough to think that by hiding our fighters and weapons in UN compounds and schools, that the enemy would not come looking to destroy anything and everything in the area, when the location was pinpointed.
At the end of the day, if the Palastinians don't like what they are getting as retribution for the actions of Hamas, they know where the solution lies.


Defence blockade and airlift

Then, imagine the best. The United Nations militarily blockade NZ by sea, an international defence shield, flying in all the needed personnel and supplies to our women and children.

Too little too late

Finally our PM is speaking out against the slaughter of Palestinian children. Is that because our elections are just around the corner?


Just imagine, that Australia launched an attack of this scale in New Zealand.
That 1300 people were killed, that 63500 were injured, that 1.8 million of our fellow citizens just had our only power station blown up, we had no running water, no sewage system, no electricity, no food, few medical supplies, and our borders had been closed for 7 years.
That corriander, tampons, crayons, pencils, lipstick and coffee were deemed illegal imports for the past 7 years, along with 4000 other household items. That every hour of every day meant continual suffering at the hands of Australia.
Just imagine that. And the world did nothing, nothing at all, to ease our burden, to lessen our pain.
And the attacks are relentless, and Australia's politicans are calling for genocide, to exterminate New Zealanders. And
the world did nothing.

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