Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


NZ Govt Misrepresents Peaceful Humanitarian Flotilla

NZ Government Misrepresents Peaceful Humanitarian Flotilla as Provocative

Through Hon. Murray McCully’s response to Harmeet Sooden’s letter, the New Zealand Government has officially declined to fulfil its statutory obligations to protect New Zealand citizens who are delivering medical supplies to Gaza at the end of June as part of a lawful, humanitarian flotilla.

Rather than address Mr Sooden’s requests, the Government has simply “advised the Israeli Ambassador that New Zealand citizens may be participating in the flotilla and [the Government’s] expectation that, if New Zealand citizens breach any Israeli laws, or are detained for any reason, they will be treated appropriately in accordance with international obligations.”

Mr Sooden explains, “As the flotilla doesn’t intend to enter Israeli waters, the only way we can end up in Israeli custody is by being kidnapped in international waters—something Israel has been doing to civilians since the 1970s.”

There has been no indication of a response from the Israeli Ambassador. According to a recent New York Times article, however, the Israeli Navy has threatened, “We will do anything we have to do to prevent a boat from breaking the blockade.”

Despite requests, the New Zealand Government refuses to state its position on the legality of Israel’s blockade of Gaza. The natural conclusion, therefore, is that the Government, in choosing to subordinate itself to United States foreign policy, condones the blockade, which the Red Cross has said “constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law”, and the Goldstone Report has described as a possible crime against humanity.

Mr Sooden replies, “Israel like New Zealand has a duty to defend its citizens, but it has no right to raid our ships to enforce an unlawful blockade.”

Israel’s security concerns can be addressed without the resort to a military-enforced blockade. International law provides for neutral merchant vessels to have their cargo certified as non-military. Israel has the choice of cooperating with third-party states to establish mutually satisfactory mechanisms to ensure that contraband does not enter Gaza. There is no evidence thus far that Israel has availed itself of any peaceful options.

The Government discourages “the use of flotillas to deliver assistance to Gaza given their potential to escalate into violent conflict” and is of the opinion that “assistance and goods destined to Gaza should be channelled through legitimate crossings and established channels”. Mr Sooden says, “The flotilla is a lawful enterprise and, moreover, there would be no need for flotillas if Western governments had the political will to enforce international law.”

He adds, “The success of the upcoming flotilla and those to follow will be measured not by whether we reach Gaza, but by civil society’s actions to resist Western-backed Israeli crimes and to stand in solidarity with Palestinians.”

Mr Sooden’s flight departs from on Monday, 20 June at 11:15pm, and will join New Zealander Vivienne Porzsolt and other flotilla participants in Greece. He is available to meet with members of the media and public at 8:30pm at Auckland Airport.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election