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

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news