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Wellington Palestine Group - Protest March Today

Wellington Palestine Group - Protest March

6 January 2009

The Wellington Palestine Group says New Zealand is jeopardising its candidacy for a seat on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, by being out of step with the rest of the world on the Palestine issue.

The Group is taking this message in a picket at the Wellington headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (6 January 2009).

Group spokesperson, Serena Moran says the news reports we receive in New Zealand concentrate mostly on the position of the United States and its allies.

“Most other governments have long experiences of seeing through the hypocrisy and aggression of the Israelis and are condemning the Israeli invasion of Gaza in very forthright terms,” Moran says.

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister, Murray McCully, has said that New Zealand is even- handed and is not pointing the finger of blame at either Israel or Hamas for the current fighting.

But Moran says the 2004 judgement by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) spelt out Israel’s violations of Palestinians human rights and humanitarian rights under occupation.

“The ICJ made it clear that countries who had signed on to human rights and humanitarian conventions, had an obligation to pressure Israel to further the rights of the Palestinians to a sovereign state.”

“New Zealand signed on with domestic legislation, but the first time it was tested, in 2006, when a judge in Auckland issued a warrant against a former Israeli general for war crimes, New Zealand backed down and the government refused to allow the police to execute the arrest warrant,”Moran said.

“Now Murray McCully is washing his hands of the horrendous Palestinian suffering in Gaza.”

Wellington Palestine Group member Omar Khamoun says other countries see support of Palestinians’ rights to justice as a benchmark for western countries’ genuineness of their commitment to international human rights and humanitarian law.

New Zealand has applied for a seat on the UN Human Rights Council with a vote scheduled in May.

“If they see that New Zealand isn’t even lukewarm in supporting the rights of the Palestinians against Israeli violence, occupation, land confiscation and illegal settlements, then they might decide New Zealand shouldn’t get the seat it wants.”

Khamoun says the Wellington Palestine Group has been protesting against Israeli attacks against its neighbours since the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982.

“For Israeli politicians, every diplomatic problem, including impending elections, has only a military solution. But the military solution has never worked. It is time that Israel instead complied with international law and withdrew not just from Gaza, but the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. If Israel doesn’t, we’ll have to be demonstrating again in another 26 years,” Khamoun concluded.


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