Kia Ora Gaza organiser condemns ‘open genocide’ in Gaza Strip


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While telling today’s Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland about the “good news” of creative humanitarian aid plans to help Palestinians amid the War on Gaza, New Zealand Kia Ora Gaza advocate and organiser Roger Fowler also condemned Israel’s genocidal conduct. He was interviewed by Anadolu News Agency after a Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning meeting in Istanbul with his views this week republished here.

By Faruk Hanedar in Istanbul

“Women, children, and families have no food. They are trying to drink water from puddles. People are eating grass.”

— Kia Ora Gaza advocate Roger Fowler

New Zealand activist Roger Fowler has condemned the Israeli regime’s actions in the Gaza Strip, saying “this is definitely genocide”.

“The Israeli regime has not hidden its intention to destroy or displace the Palestinian people, especially those in Gaza, from the beginning,” he said.

“They are committing a terrible act — killing tens of thousands of people, injuring more, and destroying a large part of this beautiful country.”

The death toll from the Israeli War on Gaza topped 29,000 this week – mostly women and children – and there were reports of deaths from starvation.

Fowler demanded action to halt the attacks and expressed hope about the potential effect of the international Freedom Flotilla — a grassroots organisation working to end the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza.

He noted large-scale protests against Israel’s actions in Gaza and emphasised efforts to pressure governments, including through weekly protests in New Zealand to unequivocally condemn Israel’s actions as unacceptable.

A Palestinian mother and family hug the dead body of their child who died in an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza
A Palestinian mother and family hug the dead body of their child who died in an Israeli attack in Deir al-Balah, Gaza, on 18 February 2024. Image: Kia Ora Gaza

Long-standing mistreatment
He stressed that the “tragedy” had extended beyond recent months, highlighting the long-standing mistreatment endured by Palestinians — particularly those in Gaza — for the last 75 years.

Fowler pointed out the dire situation that Gazans faced — confined to a small territory with restricted access to essential resources including food, medicine, construction materials and necessities.

He noted his three previous trips to Gaza with land convoys, where he demonstrated solidarity and observed the dire circumstances faced by the population.

“Boycott is a very effective action,” said Fowler, underlining the significance of boycotts, isolation and sanctions, while stressing the necessity of enhancing and globalising initiatives to end the blockade.

“I believe that boycotting has a great impact on pressuring not only major companies to withdraw from Israel and end their support, but also on making the Israeli government and our own governments understand that they need to stop what they are doing.”

Fowler also criticised the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) “genocide decision” for being ineffective due to the arrogance of those governing Israel.

South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the ICJ in December and asked for emergency measures to end Palestinian bloodshed in Gaza, where nearly 30,000 people have been killed since October 7.

Anadolu journalist Faruk Hanedar talks with Kia Ora Gaza organiser Roger Fowler (left)
Anadolu journalist Faruk Hanedar talks with Kia Ora Gaza organiser Roger Fowler (left) after the recent Freedom Flotilla Coalition planning meeting in Istanbul. Image: Kia Ora Gaza/Anadolu

World Court fell short
The World Court ordered Israel last month to take “all measures within its power” to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza but fell short of ordering a ceasefire.

It also ordered Israel to take “immediate and effective” measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance in the Gaza Strip.

Fowler said all nations must persistently advocate and exert pressure for adherence to decisions by the UN court.

Fowler acknowledged efforts by UN personnel but he has concerns about their limited resources in Gaza, citing the only avenue for change is for people to pressure authorities to stop the genocide and ensure Israel is held accountable.

“It’s definitely tragic and heartbreaking. Women, children, and families have no food. They are trying to drink water from puddles. People are eating grass. This is a very desperate situation. No one is talking about the children. Thousands of people are under the rubble, including small babies and children,” he said.

Roger Fowler is a Mangere East community advocate, political activist for social justice in many issues, and an organiser of Kia Ora Gaza. This article was first published by Anadolu Agency and is republished with permission.

"Gaza is starving to death"
“Gaza is starving to death” . . . a banner in today’s Palestine solidarity rally in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report
"Blood on your hands"
“Blood on your hands” . . . a protest banner condemning Israel and the US during a demonstration outside the US consulate in Auckland Tāmaki Makaurau today. Image: David Robie/Asia Pacific Report
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