A New Zealand Islamic group has condemned Israel's "belligerent and flagrant" military campaign in Gaza.
The Wellington-based Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand (FIANZ) today released a statement expressing its concern over the deaths of more than 280 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip over the weekend.
Israel has said the campaign, which began on Saturday, was a response to almost daily rocket and mortar fire by Islamist group Hamas.
FIANZ president Javed Iqbal Khan said he "strongly condemned" the Israeli airstrikes and the "disproportionate use of force" by Israeli troops.
"(The federation) views this wanton attack by Israel as genocide on innocent civilians including many children and an attack against humanity," he said.
Mr Khan said the group did not condone rocket attacks by Hamas but the Israeli reprisal was "extremely unbalanced and heavy-handed".
"This is indeed an unacceptable violation of international humanitarian laws and rules," he said.
FIANZ called on the New Zealand Government, the United States administration and the United Nations to censure Israel, he said.
"Such attacks are bound to have a deleterious effect on the on-going Middle East peace process."