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

 

Open reply to Murray McCully

17 October 2016

Dear Mr McCully,

Thank you for your reply of 16 October to our emails concerning the Women's Boat to Gaza.

You say in your response that:

“New Zealand pursues a balanced and constructive approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. New Zealand supports a negotiated two-state solution, with Israel and a Palestinian state existing side by side, in peace and security.”

While Israel continues to blockade Gaza and rule the West Bank and East Jerusalem with implacable brutality, New Zealand insists that the Palestinians must negotiate directly with the Zionist regime, as if they were equal parties. Palestine is seeking full UN membership but, as you must know, in the absence of an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement the US would almost certainly veto a resolution calling for full UN membership for Palestine. Israel, therefore, plainly has every incentive to avoid signing any so-called peace agreement. Human rights are non-negotiable and the call for talks evades the principle that violations of international law must never be circumvented or given validity. On 29 November 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that there are no plans to deliver any land from West Bank Area C to Palestinians. In a meeting for Likud Ministers, he stressed that there will be no transfer of land to the Palestinian Authority, “not 40 thousand dunams, not 10 thousand, not one metre.” What dort of basis for negotiation is that? According to the Times of Israel, the President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Danny Lamm, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “The New Zealand Foreign Minister is unfortunately misguided and in his attempt to promote peace has [passed off] blame on Israel when in fact there is no peace for one reason only: Israel’s enemies don’t want peace.” The urgent need for peace, human rights and international law all require that Israel immediately begin the process of ending its belligerent military Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the blockade of Gaza.

In a speech on28 September 2015, the New Zealand Minister of Defence, Gerry Brownlee, made the following observations of principle:

1. “New Zealand’s approach to security, and particularly maritime security, is anchored in strong support for international laws of the sea.”

2. “A rules based system is particularly important for ensuring continued freedom of navigation and collective maritime security.”

It is time to live up to these claims. The New Zealand Government must know that Israel does not have a very good record in regard to international maritime law. For example, in 1967 Israeli forces deliberately attacked a vessel they knew to be the American intelligence-gatheringship USS Liberty. At that time, Israel had been about to invade the Golan Heights but postponed the manoeuvre for 24 hours until it had disabled the US Navy vessel. The attack on USS Liberty killed 34 crew members, wounded 171 and severely damaged the vessel. The attack took place in international waters and involved Israeli Air Force jet fighter aircraft and Israeli Navy motor torpedo boats. The US Government went to enormous lengths to cover up the true enormity of the attack and the crew felt betrayed. An on line video is available that includes the real-time conversations between Israeli Air Force pilots and their controllers.

That attack on USS Liberty illustrates most clearly that Israel has scant regard for international law but the New Zealand Government has chosen to side with Israel and support Israeli Navy hijacking over the rights to lawful passage in international waters. Mr McCully, you end your email with the following observation: “All New Zealanders are subject to local immigration laws and regulations overseas and being a New Zealand citizen does not lead to any special treatment. The New Zealand Government cannot intervene in the judicial processes of another country.”

What possible relevance can Israel's judicial processes have regarding the right to free passage in international waters and the Palestinian people's right to welcome friendly visitors? Israel does not own international waters and the Gaza Strip is not in Israel.

The UN Security Council has stood passively by and allowed Israel to turn the Gaza Strip into the largest concentration camp in history while subjecting the people of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to brutal military oppression. The Palestinian people are in desperate need and they look to us and the rest of the world to bring Israel to account. By choosing to condone and support the armed hijacking of the peaceful Women's Boat to Gaza in international waters, the New Zealand Government has shamed our country, betrayed humanity and sadly undermined the principles of international law.

Yours sincerely,

Leslie Bravery

Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand www.palestine.org.nz


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Sustainable NZ Isn’t Self-Sustaining

Asking whether this new, environmentally focussed party can make the 5% MMP threshold may be the wrong question...

Its more achievable goal would be to knock the Greens below the 5% threshold, while along the way reviving all the ancient stereotypes about the centre-left being implacably hostile to rural New Zealand. More>>

 

Report On Consultation: Future Of Tomorrow's Schools

“The 1989 Tomorrow’s Schools reform introduced one of world’s most devolved schooling systems where each school operates largely in isolation of each other... It empowered local communities and modernised an overly bureaucratic system but also led over time to uneven outcomes between schools.” More>>

ALSO:

Queensland Fires: NZ Firefighters Helping Battle Blazes

Twenty-one New Zealand firefighters are departing for Australia to help fight the wild fires that have been raging in Queensland for the past nine weeks. More>>

ALSO:

In NZ:

Discussion Doc: 'Firearm Prohibition Orders' Power For Police

“In practice this may mean a person subject to a FPO could not live in or visit a property where firearms are held, even if the firearm owner is licensed. They could not be in a vehicle which is carrying a firearm. They could not go hunting even under supervision..." More>>

ALSO:

Police: Armed Response Team In Low Level Arrest, 'Preventative' Patrols

Police later said the stop was entirely appropriate, and resulted in the man being arrested without incident for "breaching conditions". More>>

ALSO:

Children's Commissioner Comment: Damning Oranga Tamariki Review Of Uplift Case

“The practice review released by Oranga Tamariki today is rigorous and robust. However, it describes a litany of failure at every step. It is a damning indictment of inadequate social work practice. Many social workers will welcome the light being shone on this case." More>>

ALSO:

Environment Commissioner: ‘Huge’ Data Gaps Undermine Stewardship

Environment Commissioner Simon Upton says ‘huge’ gaps in data and knowledge undermine our stewardship of the environment and is calling for concerted action to improve the system. More>>

  • Image via Out-Link - Focusing Aotearoa New Zealand’s environmental reporting system
  • Science Media Centre - Measuring changes to our environment – Expert Reaction
  • Local Govt NZ - LGNZ backs call for better environmental reporting
  • Environmental Defence Society - EDS endorses Commissioner for the Environment’s report
  • Federated Farmers - Environment data gaps no basis for current policy swings
  •  
     
     
     
     

    LATEST HEADLINES

    • PARLIAMENT
    • POLITICS
    • REGIONAL
     
     

    InfoPages News Channels