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

 


Palestinian refugees deserve justice

Palestinian refugees deserve justice


By Leslie Bravery | http://www.palestine.org.nz/ | 02 March 2014

In Syria, the plight of the 570,000 Palestinians exiled from their homeland by Israel raises yet again the responsibility of the world community for the safety and human rights of a people who, for over sixty years, have been denied justice. The predicament in which Palestinian refugees find themselves is directly attributable to decisions taken by great powers, over the heads of a native people. The first step towards ending this humanitarian disaster is for the world community to shoulder its responsibility and require Israel, under threat of sanctions, to abide by its obligations under international law, in particular the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Set up by the UN General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to a population of some five million registered Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, UNWRA does its work on behalf of the world community. But the financial support UNRWA receives has not kept pace with increasing demand for services caused by growing numbers of refugees and deepening poverty. After six decades it is time to call Israel to account. Massively subsidised by the US taxpayer, the nuclear-armed Zionist state conducts its inhumanities, not only with impunity but also with the benefit of diplomatic and material rewards, such as preferential trade deals provided by the world's most powerful and influential states.

In a speech at the American University of Beirut on 25 February 2014, Filippo Grandi, the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, described conditions in the Yarmouk refugee camp: “The stark greyness of the people and the rubble remind me of the black-and-white archive pictures from the Palestinian diaspora in 1948: children in tattered clothes and unkempt hair warming themselves on small fires, old people looking into the camera, their lined and leathered faces deep with concern.” Filippo Grandi also observed that: “The continued disenfranchisement of Palestinians from rights and livelihoods in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, has been the main impediment to serving Palestine refugees to the benefit of their future and that of the region.”

While Israel continues to deny the Palestinian refugees their UN-recognised right of return, Zionist-inspired Israeli law determines that Jewish citizens who are native by birth in other lands, have a right of 'return' to Palestine. Palestinians, on the other hand, are discriminated against by Israel and denied access to their native land solely because they are not Jewish. That is undeniable racism. As a Palestinian mother in Yarmouk, Um Ahmed, asked the UNWRA Commissioner-General “What are we supposed to do, where are we supposed to go?”

The forced exile of Palestinian refugees since 1948 is an intolerable war crime and the uncritical legitimacy that has routinely been granted to the Zionist state's founding ideology must be challenged and reconsidered. Where Zionism's discriminatory purposes conflict with international humanitarian law – and the tragic evidence for this is plain for all to see – the world community has a duty to demand an end to Israel's intransigence. No amount of so-called 'peace talks' can legitimately negotiate away the human rights of millions of refugees or, thereby, deny them the justice they so truly deserve. Zionism, as the purpose of Israel's existence, must surely give way to a saner, more humane philosophy that would allow a transition away from ever-more discriminatory legislation. With the right international encouragement – and pressure – such a change of heart could open the possibility of allowing a more inclusive multi-ethnic community to take shape in the Holy Land.

The growing success of the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has been spurred by the outrage engendered by Zionism's inhumanities. It is high time our political leaders and governments (so quick to selectively invoke sanctions elsewhere in the name of democracy) joined with the rest of humanity and acknowledged the legitimacy and efficacy of the movement; their wholehearted participation in BDS would bring about, so much sooner, the just and peaceful outcome we all long for. Let reason and humanity prevail.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell:
On The Greens Proposal To Gradually Lift The Minimum Wage

Heading into the election home stretch, voters have a clear choice about the best way to help low and middle income New Zealanders. They can do so by gradually lifting the minimum wage (as the Greens propose) or by a small tax cut, as the government seems about to announce.

The minimum wage boost – by 75 cents an hour to $15 in December, and then by gradual annual increments to $18 an hour by 2017 – that the Greens are talking about is just one part of a packet of employment measures that would include scrapping youth rates and the 90 day trial period, introducing a redundancy package of four weeks, offsetting any abatement effect of the policy package for those receiving Working For Families, and finally… ditching the exception made by the government (during the Hobbit negotiations) for workers in the screen industry, which denies them normal workplace safeguards and entitlements. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

2014 General Election: Voting Period Begins

The first votes for the 2014 general election will be cast today, Wednesday 3 September, as advance voting begins ahead of election day on Saturday 20 September. More>>

Two Dead, One Injured: Suspect Charged After Ashburton Shooting

Russell John Tully has appeared in Christchurch District Court. Tully has been remanded in custody on charges of murder of Peg Noble and Leigh Cleveland and attempted murder of Lindy Curtis. More>>

ALSO:

John Key Press Conference: Ashburton Shootings, Judith Collins Inquiry

Prime Minister John Key has delayed the release of Nationals’ fiscal policy in light of this morning’s shooting at a Work and Income office in Ashburton... Key also answered questions about Judith Collins, and confirmed that independent inquiry will be held with regard to allegations made against Collins. More>>

ALSO:

Internet MANA: Georgina Beyer Rocks The Waka

“There is now, and always will be, a range of views about many issues within our movement and members are free to express them, but Georgina’s views on Kim Dotcom are not shared by the MANA Movement leadership or the vast majority of MANA members and supporters around the country” states MANA Candidate for Waiariki, Annette Sykes. More>>

ALSO:

IGIS Update: Inquiry Into Release Of NZSIS Information

The Inquiry would be conducted in private and individuals would appear before her separately over a period of more than a week. She does not intend to name those summoned to give evidence until her report is published. “I can confirm that all persons summoned will be required to appear under oath...” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On John Key’s ‘Blame It On Judith’ Strategy

Right now, Prime Minister John Key seems intent on limiting the scope of any inquiry into his government’s dealings with Cameron Slater. The declared aim is to make that inquiry solely about Judith Collins’ behavior with respect to the Serious Fraud Office. More>>

ALSO:

Maori Council Lawyers' Statement: Supreme Court Decision On Maori Water Rights

“…the Supreme Court refused to give Pouakani people what they asked for, but may have given them something much, much better instead… the Supreme Court has questioned whether the Crown owns the River at all.” More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Debate, And The Collins Accusation

Debating is a peculiar discipline in that what you say is less important than how you’re saying it. Looking poised, being articulate and staying on topic generally wins the day – and on that score, Labour leader David Cunliffe won what turned out to be a bruising encounter with Prime Minister John Key last night on TVNZ. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news