22 Oct 2010

Embassy 'regrets' NZ involvement in Gaza aid

3:42 pm on 22 October 2010

The Israeli embassy says it regrets that New Zealanders are supporting a convoy that has delivered $7 million worth of supplies to the Gaza Strip.

Activists from 30 countries bypassed Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip on Friday.

The convoy of 150 vehicles entered the Hamas-controlled area through Egypt's Rafah Gate, the only land border not controlled by the Israeli military.

Medicine, vehicles, petrol and education supplies were delivered by 400 volunteers, including six New Zealanders, to Gaza City.

The Israeli embassy says it is pleased the convoy did not confront Israeli officials and did not breach blockades, which it says stop the delivery of materials used for terrorism against Israel.

It says it regrets that some New Zealanders are aiding what it describes as "so-called" human rights groups.

New Zealand team leader Roger Fowler says the convoy's success shows Israel that people around the world want an end to the siege on Palestinians.

Mr Fowler says the successful mission has opened the way for future convoys to Gaza, which he believes will eventually end the blockade.

In May, nine activists were killed when Israeli commandos stormed aid vessels trying to reach Gaza by sea.