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Source: Dr Arama Rata

Earlier this (Sunday) evening Auckland Museum released a message on their Instagram social media account stating, “This evening, your Museum is lit in blue and white in solidarity with Israel. Our thoughts go out to the many civilians impacted as a result of the terrorist attack a week ago today.” An image of the main building lit up in blue light accompanied the message.

Within hours, approximately 100 people had gathered outside the museum, many holding Palestine flags and chanting ‘free Palestine’. Dozens of cars drove in procession around the museum, drivers honking their horns and blaring music.

A verbal confrontation arose between the Palestine supporters and a small group of Israel supporters who also had gathered at the foot of the hill below the Museum, holding Israel flags. Police arrived on the scene at approximately 8pm and diffused the situation.

By 9pm the Museum lights had been turned off, then white lights had been turned back on. Palestine supporters subsequently covered the lights with red fabric.

Researcher, Dr Arama Rata is calling on the museum to issue a formal apology to the community. She stated, “Auckland Museum is supposed to be a welcoming place for all members of our community. Their actions tonight have caused deep divisions for people who are already hurting.”

Dr Rata continued, “The museum is entrusted with many of our taonga, and regularly holds exhibitions helping us to remember the horrors of wars. Their actions today show they have no respect for human suffering. Their actions were highly unethical.”

Israel is currently receiving condemnation from the international community for issuing an evacuation order for northern Gaza. United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons Paula Gaviria Betancur demanded that Israel immediately rescind the order, stating that, “Forcible population transfers constitute a crime against humanity, and collective punishment is prohibited international humanitarian law.”