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Open Letter to Prime Minister John Key on Gaza

PALESTINE HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN

DEC 30TH 2008

Open Letter to Prime Minister John Key and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully

As a member of the world community, New Zealand has a responsibility to play its part in helping to secure international peace and stability. The present carnage in the Gaza Strip is the latest episode in the State of Israel's sixty-year history of flagrant violations of international law, the Fourth Geneva Convention and countless UN Resolutions. In her recent newsletter, Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace wrote of the refusal by young Israelis to serve in the Israeli Army, describing them as "our voice of conscience, our tiny flickering hope of building a society that does not willingly participate in controlling, terrorising, and killing the Palestinian people - enforcing the checkpoints, demolishing homes, destroying ancient olive groves, building the Wall, confiscating land, enforcing siege . . ." If Israelis of conscience can speak out, surely the New Zealand Government should also make its voice heard?

New Zealand government must call for:

• The United Nations Security Council to call an emergency session and adopt concrete measures, including the imposition of sanctions, in order to ensure Israel’s fulfilment of its obligations under international humanitarian law.

• The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their obligation under common Article 1 to ensure respect for the provisions of the Conventions, taking appropriate measures to compel Israel to abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular placing crucial importance on the respect and protection of civilians from the effects of the hostilities.

• The High Contracting Parties to fulfil their legal obligation under Article 146 of the Fourth Geneva Convention to prosecute those responsible for grave breaches of the Convention.

• European Union institutions and member states to make effective use of the EU Guidelines on promoting compliance with international humanitarian law (2005/C 327/04) to ensure Israel complies with international humanitarian law under paragraph 16 (b) (c) and (d) of these guidelines, including the adoption of immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all preferential dealings with Israel.

We have appealed to you on numerous occasions to declare your positions of principle regarding Israel's military occupation of Palestinian land. Israel defies the UN by transferring its citizens into occupied territory through the constant annexation of land that does not belong to Israel.

New Zealand's voice must be heard loudly and clearly on behalf of the dispossessed. For humanity's sake act courageously - and do it now.

ENDS

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