New Foreign Minister urged to call for ceasefire

Our new foreign minister should call for an immediate, lasting ceasefire and the release of all hostages to end the Israel-Hamas war, Prof Robert Patman says.

As New Zealand waits to see the shape of its new National-Act-New Zealand First coalition government, Prof Patman has been forthright about what the new Minister of Foreign Affairs must do in response to the war between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters and the enormous humanitarian tragedy the conflict is creating.

‘‘Our new foreign minister needs to make it very clear New Zealand is demanding an immediate ceasefire and the immediate release of all hostages taken by Hamas."

Palestinians carry their belongings as they flee destroyed homes in Gaza City. Photo: Reuters
Palestinians carry their belongings as they flee destroyed homes in Gaza City. Photo: Reuters
Four weeks ago, Palestinian fighters launched a surprise attack on Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza, killing 1400 Israelis and taking a further 240 hostages. The ongoing reprisal by Israel has killed more than 9000 Palestinians, including more than 3700 children.

The call must be for an immediate and sustained ceasefire, the University of Otago foreign affairs specialist told Global Insight.

‘‘Not a humanitarian pause; a sustained humanitarian truce.’’

And the truce must be made contingent on all hostages being released.

‘‘If that was the policy of at least one - and maybe several - liberal democracies, that would put pressure on Hamas to release the hostages.’’

Prof Patman said Hamas was already coming under pressure from other Palestinians in Gaza who were bearing the brunt of Israeli military attacks.

‘‘We need to bring this very sad and outrageous situation to an end.’’

On Global Insight, Prof Patman also addressed the likelihood of two-time Minister of Foreign Affairs, NZ First leader Winston Peters, taking the role again and his suitability for the position.