Concern for MP Marama Davidson detained by Israeli Navy
The group that sent Marama Davidson to Gaza to join humanitarian protests is worried about the lack of contact with the Green MP.
Kia Ora Gaza spokesman Roger Fowler says they haven't heard from her since Zaytouna-Olivia, her peace flotilla boat bound for Gaza, was intercepted by the Israeli Navy.
"It was largely expected, because that's the behaviour of the Israeli regime," he told Newshub. "They've got a long track record of treating people in such a brutal and arrogant manner."
Kia Ora Gaza fundraised for Marama to join the Women's Peace Boat to Gaza protest, dedicated to breaking the Israeli siege. She left New Zealand last month to join 12 other women on the flotilla.
"We are concerned," says Mr Fowler. "All communication has been cut ever since the boat was intercepted about 53 miles away from Gaza. It's hard to know what Marama and the other women are going through."
Israel says some of the boat's occupants were already known to the authorities there, and have been deported. The others, including Ms Davidson, have been taken to Ashdod for processing. They are expected to be deported once that is complete.
"We're asking our Government to demand the Israeli authorities release these women so they can carry on their journey to Gaza," says Mr Fowler.
Prime Minister John Key said it was a "less than perfect" look for a New Zealand MP to be detained, but warnings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade "fall on deaf ears when it comes to that kind of protests from the Greens".
Despite Mr Key's criticisms, Parliament last month passed a motion expressing support for Ms Davidson and the Women's Peace Boat to Gaza protest.
Greens co-leader Metiria Turei has also called for Ms Davidson's release.
"This inhumane blockade has been in place for a decade, resulting in plummeting living standards and health services, high unemployment, and severe food insecurity for the people of Gaza."
Ms Davidson and others on board pre-recorded videos in the event they were captured. In hers, Ms Davidson calls the Israeli Navy the "oppression forces".