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What to do about Palestine

Written By: - Date published: 4:04 pm, May 18th, 2021 - 12 comments
Categories: International, United Nations, war - Tags: ,

The atrocities in the Gaza Strip continue.

In the last few days in its attempts to take out Hamas the Israeli Defence Force has managed to:

  • Kill 197 people including 58 children.
  • Destroy Al Jazeera’s and AP’s media offices in Gaza.
  • Bomb the Red Crescent Society Building in Gaza.
  • Put Gaza’s sole Covid lab out of action.
  • Damaged parts of Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Hospital for Rehabilitation and Prostheses.
  • Overwhelm Hospitals and cause significant shortages in medical and blood supplies.

Some of the individual losses are appalling.  Like the loss of Dr Ayman Abu al-Ouf who was head of internal medicine at Al-Shifa hospital and was killed along with members of his family in an early morning missile attack.

Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed that “Israel is doing everything possible to avoid harming innocent civilians.”

I would hate to see what would happen if it was not being so careful.

Al Jazeera has written about the attacks on Gaza in this exquisitely written prose which is damning in the way it tears apart the argument that somehow Israel’s attacks are humane.

Israel sends warning shots to Gaza residents so they can narrowly escape with their lives just before it destroys their livelihoods with bombs. The Palestinians should be thankful.”

New Zealand’s position on what was happening is set out in this statement:

We are gravely concerned at the escalation of violence in Israel, and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including Gaza and are appalled by the growing civilian death toll and the large number of casualties, including children, caused by Israeli airstrikes and rocket attacks by Hamas. The reported number of civilian deaths in Gaza is especially distressing.

As a nation, we reiterate the need to ensure the protection of civilians including journalists and refugees, and join others in condemning the destruction of homes and damage to vital infrastructure, including electricity networks and water installations, particularly in Gaza. International law, including international humanitarian law must be respected by both sides.

The escalating violence and provocations of recent days have made it clear that without the concerted support and commitment of the international community, the hostilities will persist and intensify.

It is concerning that reported offers of a ceasefire may have been rejected in favour of continued violence and hostility.

The violence that has taken place cannot be excused. There can be no military solution.

All sides have a responsibility to de-escalate, stop the violence and prevent further suffering and loss of life.

We call on the Council to take urgent action to help end the violence and bring about a lasting ceasefire, and stand ready to assist in any constructive way we can to support these efforts.

Mr President, this latest cycle of violence occurs amidst a steady erosion of the viability of a two-state solution. The Council has a duty to act to preserve the two-state solution and advance the Middle East Peace Process.

That is why we took forward Resolution 2334 during our term on the Council in 2016, which condemned Israeli settlements as a flagrant violation of international law and reinforced the international community’s commitment to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Aotearoa New Zealand remains steadfast in its belief that the seemingly intractable Israeli-Palestinian Conflict can be resolved, and that the two-state solution is the only basis to achieve sustainable peace.

New Zealand recognises that in the Middle East the only solution is a two state solution.  And it has taken principled stands in the past like when under the last National Government it co sponsored a resolution to the UN Security Council condemning Israel’s continued land grab of Palestinian land.  This caused something unusual to appear on the Standard, a post praising Murray McCully.

This did not go down well with Israel.  All ambassadors of the 14 Security Council members who voted for the resolution were summonsed to a meeting on Christmas day to be formally reprimanded.   Senegal had its aid suspended.  Further sanctions against New Zealand were threatened.  Things were really getting out of control when Netanyahu claimed that New Zealand’s actions were a declaration of war.  To its shame National then backtracked and apologised.

One matter that New Zealand needs to give further thought to is whether to recognise Palestine as an independent state.  Most of the world has.  North America and parts of Europe as well as Australia and New Zealand have not.

I am aware that there is some legal opinion saying that because Palestine does not have full control over any part of its territory it has not reached the position where statehood should be or has to be recognised.  But if we are to have a two state solution then maybe we should recognise Palestine now.  And remind Israel that the civilians of a separate state going about their business in their home territory should not be subject to deadly indiscriminate military attacks.

12 comments on “What to do about Palestine ”

  1. Tiger Mountain 1

    NZ not recognising Palestine on a technicality surely only impresses US Imperialism, and the butchers who purposely bombed out road access to a Gaza hospital the other night.

    Time for this Govt. to show some genuine solidarity with those on the receiving end.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Perhaps we should recognise Palestine as a state, then we could send them defensive weapobs like, oh, I don't know long range artillery and attack helicopters?

  3. aom 3

    Israel is now implementing a Mediaeval style siege. Gaza is being denied food, water, medical supplies and other necessaries of life.

    The time for more than weasel words and pussyfooting around is past.

  4. “What to do about Palestine ”

    What can we do?

    Speaking on another topic, climate change, Sir Peter Gluckman wrote on the governemnt website, "….our impact will be symbolic, moral and political.”


    New Zealand has always punched above its weight for giving a world beating moral and political lead admired and often followed..

    Ticking off the list;

    Vote for women

    The Welfare State

    Nuclear Free

    And a new one; Successful Covid Free Elimination Strategy admired around the world.

    Now is the time for us to set another, 'symbolic, moral and political' example, by politely asking the political representatives of the apartheid state of Israel to vacate their consulate in Wellington until they can start respecting UN resolutions and the human rights of the Palestinians.

  5. ghostwhowalksnz 5

    Two state solution was the what the UN came up with for ending its mandate in 1947. Thailand voted against the partition ( NZ for and UK abstained) which meant it didnt get the required 2/3 majority to pass in the General Assembly. The Thai delegation promptly lost its credentials, so that problem was fixed.

    The partition itself wasnt anything like into Jewish and Arab populated areas. Only one district had a jewish majority, the one around Tel Aviv and that was because the old city of Jaffa was a 'arab exclave'. Included it might have been 50:50. The northern district around Haifa was a small arab majority. Jerusalem was to be 'international city'

    But if they only included jewish areas the new Jewish state wouldnt have been economically and politically viable at all. They only added the Negev to Israel because it was 'empty'. For the jewish leaders and their terrorist militia allies it was unaccpetable to have nearly 1 mill arabs living inside the jewish state so that action was taken to ensure many left immediately and 700,000 did.

    A two state solution which advantages Palestine over Israel to reverse most of the original jewish favoured partition is the only way forward.

    This shows the district population ratios around 1948


    • Foreign waka 5.1

      Are talking about Jewish people, Israelis or Zionists. Not all people living in Israel are Jewish. Not all Jewish people are Zionists and not all Israelis are either of the other two.

      One has to distinguish in the first instance the political motivation that is expressed in a fundamentalist Zionist stance.


      "Zionism aims at establishing for the Jewish people a legally assured home in Palestine"

      The current verbal response from the arab neighbors is profound and if Netanyahu does not stop, the resulting conflict can go to unknown proportions. It is my observation that NZ government will align with the alliance partners. The US seems to be firmly on Netanyahu’s side.

  6. Tricledrown 6

    Netanyahu is copying the people who tried to wipe out Jews by ethnic cleansing.

    Mimicking the Wasaw ghetto.

    But we have to be careful not to be anti semitic. Israeli Journalists who are trying to report what's happening are being intimidated by IDF forces and police.

    Netanyahu deliberately incited this outbreak to shift the focus off his corruption trial.

    He should be treated as a War criminal.

    When the abused become the abusers

  7. Jenny How to get there 7

    Words are not enough.

    Will New Zealand take any action to stop the bloodshed?

    The current New Zealand Labour government must take action to persuade the Israeli government to obey the law which the previous New Zealand National government sponsored and which was supported and passed by the UN.

    UNSC Resolution 2334, sponsored by the New Zealand National Party government in 2016 and adopted unanimously at the Fourth Geneva Convention, backed by the opinion of the International Court of Justice, calls on Israel to stop illegal settlements and evictions of Palestinians in the occupied territories.

    UNSC Resolution 2334 is openly flouted by Israel, and has been cited as the cause for the current bloodshed..

    For refusing to take notice of and/or respect New Zealand government sponsored international law, UNSC Resolution 2334 of December 23, 2016….

    ….Is more than enough grounds for the current government, to ask the Israeli government to suspend their diplomatic mission to this country, to vacate their premises in Wellington, until the Israeli government agrees to abide by international laws and norms supported and sponsored by this country.

    Israel’s settlement policy is behind the current violence in Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories.

    Israel's military occupation of Palestine not sustainable (msn.com)

  8. aom 8

    Is Gerry Brownlee suffering from dementia? He says National will not recognise Palestine but "….told Stuff on Wednesday morning that, while the party supported a two-state solution, it also would not support the motion". Duh? Which two parties does he think would form the two states, Israel and US perchance?

  9. Morrissey 9

    Watch these horrific interviews that start from the 15:55 mark. Is anybody in the Israeli government condemning these genocidal maniacs? Of course not.

    • Morrissey 9.1

      At the 36:58 mark, another homicidal maniac. This maniac was raving in the 1980s.

  10. The mouse that roared

    New Zealand is caught between 2 rival superpowers. One superpower, China buys our agricultural exports. The other superpower, the US puts up trade barries to our agriculural exports.

    This puts New Zealand in an uncomfortable position.

    Should we protect our economy and continue to trade with China?

    Or should we offend China by siding with our traditional ally, the US for no practical economic benefit? (and possibly be dragged into taking part in their proxy colonial wars in the Middle East as well).

    Maybe there is a third way.

    Maybe we could chart our way down the middle, on a case by case basis, condemn China for their human rights abuses, and at the same time stand up to the US over the behaviour of their proxy ally Israel

    Maybe New Zealand should stand up as an honest broker, respected by the world for our independance foreign policy.

    We could start by expelling the Israeli ambassador to show our disaproval of both Israeli and US policy in the Middle Eastt.

    Such a bold independant foreign policy may not earn us any love from either superpower, but it may earn their respect. (not to mention the respect of the rest of the world, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America, possibly even the respect of Europe.)

    Now is the time for NZ to be brave, and stand up to Israel and China


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