ZB ZB
Live now
Start time
Playing for
End time
Listen live
Listen to NAME OF STATION
Up next
Listen live on
ZB

Former Shortland Street actor goes on hunger strike

Author
Katie Oliver ,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 May 2024, 11:14am
Former Shortland Street actor Will Alexander is protesting the Government's support of Israel's war in Gaza.
Former Shortland Street actor Will Alexander is protesting the Government's support of Israel's war in Gaza.

Former Shortland Street actor goes on hunger strike

Author
Katie Oliver ,
Publish Date
Mon, 20 May 2024, 11:14am

Former Shortland Street actor goes on hunger strike over war in Gaza 

A former Shortland Street actor has gone on a hunger strike in protest of the ongoing war in Gaza. 

Will Alexander has posted an online video explaining his move, saying it has been sparked by his belief that the New Zealand Government is “supporting Israel’s genocide of Palestinians”. 

“I don’t know how to live in a world in which children are killed in such horrific numbers and so blatantly against international law with the active support of the New Zealand Government,” he said. 

Alexander said he has no intention of stopping until his demands of the Government are met, including a withdrawal of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel from the Red Sea area and a resumption and doubling of humanitarian funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). 

“If these demands aren’t met, then I may soon be dead, like thousands and thousands of other people in Palestine,” he said in the online video. 

The Government deployed NZDF personnel to the Middle East region earlier this year to “uphold maritime security” in the Red Sea after attacks by Houthi rebels on commercial and naval shipping. 

Alexander, who is from Christchurch and is part of the Palestinian Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA), believes it is unacceptable. 

“It doesn’t matter whether our troops are cleaning latrines or pressing the button. Their presence there means that New Zealand is actively supporting the bombing of Yemen just to keep weapons flowing into Israel,” said Alexander. 

At the time the deployment was announced, Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the strikes being carried out by the international coalition were against Houthi military targets which have played a role in attacking commercial and naval vessels. 

“These efforts support international security and the free flow of trade on which New Zealanders rely,” Peters said. 

In January, New Zealand, along with 10 other donor countries, suspended funding to UNRWA over allegations its staff had involvement in Hamas’ attacks on Israel on October 7 last year. 

Most donor countries have resumed funding since an independent report for the UN found no evidence in the accusations. 

“Israel has rained down some of the most advanced weaponry on 2.3 million captive civilians for seven long months,” said Alexander. 

“And not only is New Zealand supporting Israel in doing this, but we have also suspended humanitarian funding to UNRWA despite a famine caused by Israel’s months-long siege on Gaza. We shouldn’t be pausing funding - we should be doubling it.” 

Katie Oliver is a Christchurch-based Multimedia Journalist and breaking news reporter. 

Take your Radio, Podcasts and Music with you