20 Jan 2009

Israel must talk to Hamas - Greens

9:49 pm on 20 January 2009

Israel needs to negotiate directly with Hamas if there is to be any hope of a lasting ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, says Green MP Keith Locke.

The party's foreign affairs spokesperson was involved in a protest march in Wellington on Tuesday against Israeli's military incursion into Gaza.

The march was organised by the Wellington Palestine Group.

Mr Locke says the present ceasefire is a positive step, but it is by no means guaranteed.

He says countries such as New Zealand need to put pressure on Israel to recognise and talk to Hamas in order to make the ceasefire permanent.

Palestinian supporters have led another protest march in Wellington, calling for an end to the Israeli military occupation of Gaza.

More than 100 people took part in the protest march from Cuba Mall to the steps of Parliament, many of whom carried keys as a symbol of Palestinians' dispossession from their homes in 1948.

Organiser Serena Moran says Israeli troops still occupy the area, which could be a prelude to another military attack.

Ms Moran says the Government has failed to take decisive action on the issue and is merely siding with what she calls the "big boys" - Israel and the United States.