29 Dec 2008

Israeli Embassy puts onus on Hamas

9:31 pm on 29 December 2008

The Israeli Embassy for New Zealand is defending Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip, saying it is up to Hamas to end the hostilities.

Israel has stepped up its air strikes in Gaza, with a night-time attack that Hamas says destroyed a laboratory building at the Islamic University.

More than 300 Palestinians have died in the raids, now in their third day.

A spokesperson for the Israeli Embassy in Canberra, which is also responsible for New Zealand, Dor Shapira, says it was Hamas that broke the ceasefire, and it is now using civilians as human shields.

He says Hamas has the power to stop the fighting, and Israel is protecting its citizens.

Israel's role condemned

The Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand has condemned the attacks, calling Israel's campaign belligerent and flagrant.

The federation's president Javed Khan, says Palestinians living in New Zealand are worried about the safety of those living in their homeland.

He wants the New Zealand government to strongly condemn the attacks and call on world leaders to take immediate action to stop the violence.