In protest at an "outrageous" United Nations resolution, busloads of Hawke's Bay residents will travel to Parliament today to condemn it.
Flaxmere Christian Fellowship pastor Nigel Woodley will lead the protest against the "foolish, naive, and ignorant move" of the New Zealand Government in co-sponsoring a resolution condemning Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.
On Christmas Eve the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334 which demanded that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem".
New Zealand co-sponsored the resolution, with Senegal and Malaysia, which said the settlements violated international law and undermined a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine.
Mr Woodley said he had been "disgusted and outraged" by the 14-0 vote, especially because of New Zealand's "leading role" in it.
"It's outrageous and shameful as far as I'm concerned, because New Zealand and the international community are meddling in the affairs of Israel," he said, "and trying to force upon Israel a solution that can only be worked out through negotiating with the Palestinians".
Today two buses carrying more than 60 people from the Flaxmere Christian Fellowship and other Hawke's Bay churches will travel to Wellington. This afternoon they will lead a protest against the resolution, which they say outlaws "the rights of the Jewish People to live on their own historical homeland in the Land of Israel".
"We are ashamed of this evil decree, Resolution 2334, and will publicly condemn it with all who gather with us", Mr Woodley said.
The group were aware there would not be any Members of Parliament in the House today due to the holiday period. However, Mr Woodley said this highlighted the resolution was adopted at a time when public response would be "stifled".
"I think that's just part of their move," he said. "Even if there are no MPs in the house ... we don't care, we think it's important that we symbolically stand on the grounds of Parliament denouncing and condemning this resolution.
"We have to do this now. If we wait until the MPs come back in February it will be irrelevant."
Foreign Minister Murray McCully was unable to be reached for comment yesterday.
However he had welcomed the adoption of the resolution, as it was consistent with long-held New Zealand policy positions on "the Palestinian question" - including halting of settlement expansion, of incitement, and ceasing of violence.
"It is a sad fact that rather than making progress with talks between the parties, the most the Security Council is able to achieve is to attempt to stop the further undermining of the two-state solution," he said.
Since the passing of the resolution, New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, Jonathan Curr, has been effectively banned from the country.
Israel also recalled their ambassadors from New Zealand - Dr Itzhak Gerberg - and Senegal, ended aid programmes to Senegal and pledged to cut off US$7.9 million ($11.3m) in Israeli funding to UN institutions.
Mr Woodley had met with Dr Gerberg earlier this month when he visited the Flaxmere church - which has hosted Israeli Ambassadors six times.
While he was disappointed Dr Gerberg had been withdrawn "because of this debacle", Mr Woodley thought the move was appropriate.
"New Zealand had to be given a strong response from Israel", he said.
"It is sad what New Zealand has done."
• The group will be protesting at Parliament in front of the Richard Seddon Statue at 1pm. If they are unable to protest there, they will meet at the Cenotaph on the Corner of Bowen St and Lambton Quay.