The new government is leaving it to the old government to carry the ball on Gaza. Both governments have dropped it. The 5Eyes formula of “Israel’s right to defend itself” does not extend any right to the indiscriminate bombing, and refusal to allow any water, food or fuel to innocents in Gaza.
Mealy-mouthed exhortations from Luxon, Hipkins and MFAT to Israel to follow international law do not cut it, and have been spurned. At least the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has now called it more like it is.
While condemning Hamas and calling for the release of hostages, he said:
It is important to also recognize the attacks by Hamas did not happen in a vacuum.
The Palestinian people have been subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation.
They have seen their land steadily devoured by settlements and plagued by violence; their economy stifled; their people displaced and their homes demolished. Their hopes for a political solution to their plight have been vanishing.
But the grievances of the Palestinian people cannot justify the appalling attacks by Hamas. And those appalling attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
Bombing campaigns on cities, the preferred method of the west, have never been the road to peace; instead they have meant loss of innocent lives in the millions, furious and long-lasting resentment, homelessness and mass migration. Israel will not bomb Hamas into submission, and the prospect of wider conflagration is seriously frightening.
The US vetoed a Brazilian-led resolution in the UN Security Council last week calling for a ‘”humanitarian pause.”
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield explained her country’s veto in the Council chamber saying “this resolution did not mention Israel’s right of self-defence.”
We should be saying “stop the bombing, start the negotiating.” Instead we are also using the language of the bombers.