Pro-Palestine protesters demonstrated outside the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting at the Cook Islands National Auditorium in Rarotonga on Wednesday. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/23110808
Protesters who implored Pacific Islands leaders to condemn Israel’s ongoing attack on Palestine are ‘hugely disappointed’ the issue was not raised during a five-day meeting between the region’s leaders in the Cook Islands.
six Pacific Islands having voted against the United Nations (UN) resolution for
a ceasefire in the Middle East conflict, businesswoman Ellena Tavioni said she
and fellow protesters decided to demonstrate outside the Cook Islands National
Auditorium – the venue for the 52nd Pacific Islands
Leaders Meeting – in an effort to “change their minds”.
when the official Forum Communiqué outlining discussion results was released on
Friday, there was no mention of the war.
they haven’t discussed it at all, then that is truly sad,” Tavioni, who owns
fashion brand Tav Pacific, said.
hugely disappointed. Pacific leaders and Christians around the Pacific who
support Israel’s initial attack on innocent Palestinian civilians, should be
reconsidering their support if they’re true Christians.
it mention in the Bible that others can take lives, including children, as they
Palestine armed resistance group Hamas massacred up to 1200 Israeli citizens
and took more than 220 hostages on October 7, Israel launched an ongoing
offensive that has killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza – including more than
4000 children and 100 UN employees – to stamp out the group.
said her knowledge of the conflict was limited until last month, when she
discovered it dated back more than 75 years when Palestine was colonised to
Polynesians value our traditional lands where our ancestors are buried, and one
day we will join them. I’m sure that applies to a lot of indigenous people out
Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Nauru,
and Tonga made up six of the 14 countries to vote against the UN resolution,
while Australia, Kiribati, Palau, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu abstained.
they’ve condoned the killing of innocent civilians and children, and continue
to do so,” Tavioni said.
is another way to sort it.”
resolution passed with support from 120 countries, including New Zealand and
the Solomon Islands, on October 27.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially rejected the resolution. However,
the White House said Thursday Israel agreed to put in place four-hour daily
humanitarian pauses in its assault on Hamas in northern Gaza.
the Cook Islands does not have a vote at the UN, the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs and Immigration released a statement saying the Government “stands
firmly” with those in favour of a humanitarian truce in the Middle East.
use of violence and the loss of civilian lives on both sides can never be
condoned, and we call for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian
truce that leads to a cessation of hostilities from all parties involved. The
suffering caused by this conflict is immeasurable, and our unwavering belief is
in the necessity of peace through dialogue.”
General Assembly president Dennis Francis was questioned about whether Pacific
leaders would discuss the conflict during the Leaders Meeting at a press
conference on Monday, to which he replied: “If it is raised, it will be dealt
“The Forum is to devote their attention on the priorities and needs of the Pacific Island states,” Francis said.