Cafe owner makes peace after ban

An Invercargill cafe that refused to serve Israeli nationals during the conflict between Israel and Palestine has apologised for its conduct and the matter has now been resolved, the Human Rights Commission said today.

Cafe owners Mustafa and Joanne Tekinkaya ordered Israeli sisters Natalie Bennie and Tamara Shefa out of their cafe last month after they heard the sisters talking in Hebrew.

They said they would not serve Israelis in their cafe until Israel stopped killing innocent women and children in the Gaza Strip.

Protesters later descended on the Mevlana cafe, chanting "Kiwis don't discriminate, Kiwis don't give in to hate".

The commission said today all issues between the parties had been settled.

"The parties have met and reached a mutually satisfactory agreement.

"An apology has been offered and accepted in the spirit in which it was intended."

The parties had come to a greater understanding of the discrimination provisions of the Human Rights Act, the Commission said.

"As part of the terms of the agreement, both parties have agreed that the details of the agreement will remain confidential."

Israel unleashed a massive bombardment following the end of a six-month ceasefire on December 19, aimed at weakening Hamas and in response to persistent rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The three-week Israeli offensive left nearly 1300 Palestinians dead, more than half of them civilians, according to Gaza officials. Thirteen Israelis were killed, including three civilians.

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