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Source: Will Alexander

Shortland Street actor Will Alexander has ended a 19 day hunger strike for the people of Palestine today. He has been on a zero-calorie diet, consuming only water.

“Since I have been on this hunger strike, the people of Palestine have been contacting me with support. As my health is being affected, they are asking me to stop. I’m a teacher and the man making the video is a teacher. They were standing there in the rubble with a sign with my name on it and they sent their love but asked me to stop. Enough people have lost their lives. Enough people have been damaged.” says Alexander.

“I’m sure it would be very convenient for Luxon if pro-Palestine actors were to starve to death.

So I have decided it is better to live for a cause than to die for one. I’ll continue to stand up for ending the genocide in Gaza” says Alexander.

The Palestinian Solidarity Network Aotearoa has released footage of Palestinians asking for Alexander to stop the hunger strike, including people from the Palestinian territory of Gaza. In the footage, the people of Palestine ask Will to:

Alexander considers the hunger strike a success. He initially made three demands of the government: resuming and doubling United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) funding, withdrawing troops from the Red Sea, and preventing Rakon from supplying components used in the genocide in Gaza. 

‘I received a text from one of Winston’s people confirming that UNRWA will be funded. However, we’re still waiting to hear when and how much.’ Alexander

“I see this as a huge win and is the result of a massive team effort. People calling parliament everyday, sending emails, approaching MP’s in the street to ask them again and again if UNRWA funding will be increased. Creating the petition, organising flights and the Rakon rally. It was a massive team effort and we actually made something happen!” – Alexander

At the start of the year, the government was indicating some serious obstacles to giving UNRWA funding, even though they are one of the most essential organisations for supporting Gaza through this genocide. But with enough pressure, they’ve actually increased the funding!” says Alexander.

“There is still work to do, but this hunger strike was never aiming to fix every problem. It has been about putting pressure on the government to act. They have felt that pressure, and will continue to feel that pressure as we engage in new actions designed to keep the heat on the government,” says Alexander.

Alexander will now focus on rallying other activists to help put the pressure on, and says more is to come.

“I have been in touch with so many people who want to help, and it is really incredibly touching.

There’s some brilliant ideas for more that we can do, but I can’t talk about that just yet. In the mean time, we are launching a campaign to keep the pressure on every National MP in Aotearoa – check out my Instagram for more instructions” finishes Alexander.

On his Instagram, Alexander is encouraging others to join him by directly contacting politicians.

He includes videos and resources explaining how to reach them and what to ask.