26 Jul 2014

Aucklanders protest bombing of Gaza

10:29 pm on 26 July 2014

Demonstrators in Auckland say they will protest every week until Israel stops bombing Gaza.

About 800 people marched on Saturday afternoon from Aotea Square to the United States Consulate General on the waterfront.

A smaller group protested last week, and organisers say they will gather every week until the bombardment ends.

One of the organisers, Nadia Abushanab, told the crowd the death toll in Gaza had risen by more than 500 since they protested a week ago.

A Palestinian refugee living in Auckland says Israel's air strikes against Gaza are disproportionate and civilians are bearing the brunt.

Bachar Al-Khatib says both Israel and Hamas militants should put down their weapons.

But he says Israel is causing much more damage than the Palestinians.

"There's a few people in Hamas, and I say a few - a minority even within Hamas - Hamas is a minority within Palestinians themselves.

"So we're talking a very small aspect of the Palestinian society that is actually doing anything against Israel."

He says Israel's actions are disproportionate and Gazan civilians are bearing the brunt of the attacks.

Fellow protester Salva Shah said she also disagrees with Hamas militants firing rockets into Israeli territory, and wants both sides to put down their weapons.

But she says Israel is killing civilians in Gaza who have nowhere safe to flee to.

Ms Shah says the two sides need to broker something longer-lasting.

"First of all they should stop bombing - both Palestine and Israel. Then there should be an agreement on both sides that Palestine should get something out of this - it shouldn't just be back to what it was, because that wasn't a solution either."

Salvah Shah wants both sides to put down their weapons.

Salvah Shah wants both sides to put down their weapons. Photo: RNZ / Kate Newton