27 March 2024 - 10:27am

National Executive statement on Israel-Gaza conflict

In February 2024, the National Executive sent the below statement to the New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon, Minister for Women Jo Luxton (acting) and Minister for Foreign Affairs Winston Peters, to express support for peace efforts in Gaza. 


Graduate Women New Zealand is disturbed by the current situation in Gaza, and specifically the effects of women and girls in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel. United Nations experts say, "the tragic consequences of this conflict will be disproportionately borne by women and girls for generations". By November 2023, two thirds of those killed in Gaza were women and children. In line with our commitment to peace and women's empowerment, the National Executive calls on Israel to cease this persecution immediately and enable the distribution of humanitarian aid to impacted civilians. We call on the Aotearoa New Zealand Government to support efforts, including immediate talks, towards a ceasefire and increased humanitarian support. 

Since 7 October 2023, about 16,000 women and children have been killed in Gaza. This equates to two mothers killed each hour since the beginning of this stage of the crisis. At least 3000 women have been widowed by the war, left with the responsibility of protecting and feeding their families. Israel's bombing of critical water and sanitation facilities and interference with power supplies means thousands of Palestinians are without access to these essential services. To be clear, this means that around 1.1 million women and girls are now in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including food, shelter, water and sanitation. With these significant barriers to daily life, access to education loses priority in women's lives. Physical access to educational institutions, and the time and space to focus on study, have been lost.

Graduate Women New Zealand was formed to promote peace alongside the empowerment of women through education. We sincerely hope for the immediate restoration of peace so that the deleterious effects upon women can stop. We endorse the United Nations experts, civil society and global political leaders calling for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, to protect the rights and futures of women and girls in the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.

We urge Israel to immediately cease its bombardment of Gaza and the mass displacement of Palestinian people.

References used in this statement

The National Executive notes that the statistics listed in this statement have changed since the time of sending in February 2024. We have retained the original version for publication. Some reports estimate the death toll for women and children at 25,000 as of the start of March 2024.

Image taken by Hosny Salah, Palestinian photographer living on the Gaza Strip. 

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