Minister of Foreign Affairs fails to address the issues

31 Jul
Kia Ora Gaza has finally received a reply from Rt Hon Winston Peters, minister of Foreign Affairs, to our letters calling for our government to demand that Israel end the illegal blockade of Gaza, and allow safe and unhindered passage for the international Freedom Flotilla to Gaza, with New Zealand human rights advocate and union leader, Mike Treen on board. After the flotilla boat was unlawfully hijacked by Israeli forces in international waters on Sunday night, we asked Mr Peters to also demand the immediate release of the boat and its passengers and cargo of medical aid.
Unfortunately Mr Peter’s reply failed to address any of the issues we raised. Here is his letter received today, followed by our response reiterating our requests:


Dear Roger Fowler,

Thank you for your letters of 5 July, 23 and 30 July 2018.

New Zealand is a strong advocate for protection of civilians and is maintaining a close eye on events in the Gaza Strip. We are deeply concerned about reports of attacks against civilians and would urge all parties to avoid confrontation and exercise maximum restraint.

New Zealand believes the situation in Gaza is unsustainable, and has consistently called for improved access for humanitarian and other essential supplies into Gaza. In order for this to occur, we believe that Israel’s legitimate security concerns will need to be fully addressed.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has met with the Israeli Embassy to formally convey New Zealand’s concerns over the Israeli actions in responding to the Gaza protests. While accepting Israel’s fundamental right to maintain its security, particularly in the face of provocation, any actions need to be proportionate.

On 13 June New Zealand voted in favour of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on “Protection of the Palestinian civilian population”. New Zealand’s support for the UNGA resolution was consistent with the position we have long-held on Middle East resolutions that regularly come before the General Assembly.

Decisions taken by this Government on New Zealand support for particular initiatives and resolutions relating to Israel/Palestinian issues are considered carefully, with all necessary consultation having been carried out. In all cases, the Government remains committed to supporting a two state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade continues to advise against all travel to Gaza. This includes any attempt to enter Gaza by sea in breach of Israeli navy restrictions or participating in any attempt to break the naval blockade. The Ministry has advised the New Zealand Embassy in Cairo of Mike Treen’s situation on board the Freedom Flotilla to Gaza.

Yours sincerely,

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Minister of Foreign Affairs

Here is our response sent tonight –

Dear Mr Peters,

Thank you for your reply to my letters.

I note with a measure of deep disappointment and concern, that you failed to address any of the serious matters that I raised, let alone initiate any action over them.

I acknowledge that the NZ Hon Consul has visited Mr Treen in prison, however he remains in detention tonight in Israel.

I would like to ask you again to please respond to each of our requests, which I reiterate here again for your urgent consideration:

In light of Israel’s unwarranted and unlawful interception and seizure of this Gaza-bound civilian boat in international waters, we call on the NZ Government to urgently alert our appropriate consular services to ensure the well-being and release of Mike Treen, and urgently demand the Israeli authorities: 

  • ensure the safety and well-being of all those on board, and the speedy delivery of our gifts to the Palestinian people in Gaza,
  • end the inhumane blockade of the Gaza Strip, 
  • immediately release the Al Awda and its crew and passengers unharmed,
  • and allow the 2018 Freedom Flotilla and it’s medical cargo, safe and unhindered passage to their destination – the port of Gaza.

Given the gravity of the situation and the intense public concern, I forward this email as an ‘open letter’ and look forward to your prompt response,

Yours sincerely,

Roger Fowler,

For Kia Ora Gaza (a partner in the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition).

Flotilla supporters are welcome to send endorsements of this request to the government. The Foreign Minister’s email address:
The Prime Minister can be contacted at:

5 Responses to “Minister of Foreign Affairs fails to address the issues”

  1. Elizabeth Ann Jones July 31, 2018 at 7:25 pm #

    Once again Winston Peters and the,Government speak with a forked tongue!! They say one thing but mean another! Israels right to defend itself is bullshit! The Palestinians have the right to defend THEMSELVES, and they could if they had a military force! There is no such thing now as a 2 state solution! Israel is STILL building settlements on Palestinian land!! New Zero is just following the crowd,another Zionist puppet!!So ashamed of New Zealand!!

  2. Greg July 31, 2018 at 8:38 pm #

    Does anyone have any news of the Australian jornalist on board?
    Greg Giannis

    • kiaoragaza July 31, 2018 at 8:45 pm #

      Chris Graham is still detained in an Israeli prison with most of the others from the Al Awda, awaiting deportation I believe.

  3. Simone August 1, 2018 at 11:04 am #

    Can you please include an email address and subject title for Winston Peters so individuals can contact him directly to challenge him on this cowardly response from our government.
    Many thanks

    • kiaoragaza August 1, 2018 at 11:38 am #

      Thank you Simone – apologies for overlooking this. We have added an invitation for supporters to endorse our request at the foot of the post: Flotilla supporters are welcome to send endorsements of this request to the government. The Foreign Minister’s email address:
      The Prime Minister can be contacted at:

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