Palestine-born Suhil Musa's heart bleeds for the blood-stained children and elderly of Gaza who are suffering Israeli attacks.

The Whangarei-based school teacher hopes a ceasefire is soon reached between Israel and Palestine's leaders.

He has made an impassioned plea for Northlanders to join a candlelight vigil in the Old Library on Rust Ave, Whangarei, tonight to pray for peace and to remember those who have lost their lives.

The get-together is organised by a group of women in Whangarei in response to a blistering 16-day bombardment of Gaza that has left 630 Palestinians and 29 Israelis dead. Israel claims the attacks are necessary to stop Islamist group Hamas from raining rockets into the country.


Organisers of the peace vigil say it won't be a religious or political event. People are asked to take a candle to light, a cushion to sit on, a short prayer to recite, koha toward room hire, and to take friends and family.

Mr Musa's family is safe in the West Bank, about three hours away from Gaza. He feels for those suffering in the holy month of Ramadan or fasting.

"What's going on is indeed sad, especially the deaths of innocent kids playing on the beach or on rooftops, women and old people, and the targeting of places such as hospitals.

"Hopefully [the vigil] will give a strong message to those perpetrating the violence that it must stop." The peace vigil will start at 5.30pm.