Waikato Muslims to join rally to end Israeli violence against Palestinians

"Waikato Muslims are deeply pained by violence committed by the Israeli state against Palestinian worshippers in Occupied East Jerusalem," said Dr Asad Mohsin, the President of the Waikato Muslim Association. "I urge everyone to attend the Al-Nakba (Catastrophe) Commemoration Rally this Saturday."

Dr Mohsin said Waikato Muslims urged Israel to cease the violence and respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly. "The status quo at the Haram Al-Sharif (the Noble Sanctuary) must be upheld and respected.

"We are also distressed by the illegal evictions of Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighbourhoods," he continued.

The Waikato Muslim Association says it is heart-breaking that this violence is occurring during the final days of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Palestinians are attempting to worship in peace at the Haram Al-Sharif, the third holiest site in Islam.

"Waikato Muslims also urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian and international human rights law," Dr Mohsin continued.

The ongoing violence that began on Friday has been described as one of the worst seen in Occupied East Jerusalem for many years.

Dr Mohsin said "I understand more than 200 Palestinians have been injured with 22 reported killed in and around the Haram Al-Sharif. Palestinian children are among the wounded."

It has been reported that on Saturday, police attacked protesters with stun grenades, rubber bullets, teargas and water cannons. Such violence continued on Sunday and Monday, extending to target worshippers inside the Haram Al-Sharif itself.

"I have written to New Zealand's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Waikato Members of Parliament to urge the Israeli government to end the violence," said Dr Mohsin.

The Al Nakba Commemoration Rally will be held at 1:30pm on Saturday 15 May at the corner of Wairere Drive and Cambridge Road in Hillcrest, Hamilton. The rally is being organised by the Palestine Human Rights Campaign.