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Kiwis among those in Gaza

Thursday 15 Nov 2012 5:40 p.m.

By Adam Hollingworth

Foreign Affairs says four New Zealanders are registered as living in Gaza, but there could be more.

Among them is Roger Fowler, a member of a pro-Palestinian friendship group Kia Ora Gaza.

Mr Fowler is working with Briton Harry Fear, making an online documentary promoting the Palestinian cause. But with the launch of Operation Pillar of Defence, they're live streaming from an apartment in the heart of Gaza City.

“I've seen a lot of big flashes of explosions in the distance both north of Gaza City and to the northeast,” says Mr Fowler.

Mr Fowler and Mr Fear say at least 13 people have died, including two children, but Israel says Hamas is to blame for civilian casualties.

“If it happened absolutely all the responsibility is on the Hamas leadership, the Hamas people,” says Israeli ambassador to New Zealand Shemi Tzuri.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully urged cool heads to prevail to de-escalate current tensions, and he called for the incoming American administration to give its highest priority to promoting direct talks.

Labour leader David Shearer, who headed the UN's Humanitarian Office in Jerusalem for four years, says there must be a comprehensive settlement.

“You cannot keep 1.5 million locked up and effectively in a prison, unable to move freely and expect somehow there to be peace in a place,” says Mr Shearer.

Meanwhile Mr Fowler is looking for a safe way out of Gaza and is hoping the UN will soon evacuate internationals.

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