Zionists, Palestinian supporters to face off in Auckland

Israel and Palestine both claim the same land.
Israel and Palestine both claim the same land. Photo credit: Getty

There are likely to be fiery scenes when a group of protesters turn up at an event to celebrate Israel in Auckland on Sunday.

The Zionist Federation and Auckland Peace Action Group will be at Silo Park to voice different opinions on the 70th anniversary of the formation of Israel.

To Palestinians, May 14, 1948 is known as 'The Catastrophe', and Auckland Peace Action Group will be staging a wall of noise in opposition.

Spokesperson Valerie Morse says celebrating the Jewish state's oppressive ways is wrong.

"We are in support of the Palestinian people - freedom, justice and self-determination for the Palestinian people, and an end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, particularly the occupied territories on the West Bank and Gaza Strip."

Both groups plan to start their activities around 2pm. The Zionist Federation is refusing to move its gathering. President Rob Berg says it will be peaceful, and only the weather or the police can stop them.

"The only reason we won't' have celebrations is if we were either told by the police we weren't allowed - which is highly unlikely - but probably more likely that the weather is so atrocious, it's just not possible."

Auckland Peace Action spokeswoman Valerie Morse says they're trying to drown out Israel's oppressive ways with their voices.

"It's all very well for them to talk about freedom of speech, but there is no Palestinian voice being heard on this issue, so it's not really a matter of freedom of speech."

Mr Berg says the group's attitude is disappointing.

"We've come to expect some of these reactions. It's surprising and always distressing that it always seems to be when Israel's involved, whereas every other country's allowed to have these types of celebrations."

Ms Morse says they're just defending Palestinians.

"At the moment there is a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Israel, in the occupied territories where Palestinian people are being murdered."

Israel presently occupies a number of territories the United Nations recognises as belonging to Palestine.


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