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Israel's defiance earns Brownlee's respect

Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand

Press Release | 9 August 2017

Israel's defiance earns Brownlee's respect

A request in early May this year to Bill English from Dr Vacy Vlazna, Co-ordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters,requesting that New Zealand end diplomatic relations with Israel and that Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee be sacked, was finally answered by Brownlee himself on 7 August.

The Foreign Affairs Minister wrote in his reply to Dr Vlazna:“We stand by Resolution 2334 but respect Israel's right to oppose it.”

How can Brownlee stand by the Resolution and, at the same time, absolve Israel? Does the Minister actually understand the evidence against Israel contained in UNSCR 2334? New Zealand sponsored the Resolution and no votes were cast against it. Does he speak for the National Government in his support for Israel.

Does Brownlee understand that the Security Council Resolution refers to Israel as “the Occupying Power” while reminding it of “its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention”? The Resolution declares that Israeli war crimes, such asannexation of Palestinian land, denial of the Palestinian people's right to freedom of movement and destruction of their homes have “no legal validity”. Israel is reminded that its actions constitute "a flagrant violation under international law" as well as being "in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions"

What prompts our Foreign Minister to disregard both the letter and the spirit of the Resolution 2334 in unilaterallydetermining that Israel has, what he terms a “right” to “oppose”, and therefore continue to violate, the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention?

Why does Brownlee put friendly co-operation with a belligerent Occupying power before support for international law and human rights?

What does Gerry Brownlee believe was the purpose of the passing of UNSCR 2334?

The Minister also wrote: “At the same time, New Zealand wants a constructive relationship with Israel. I am pleased that Israel has decided to restore full diplomatic ties with New Zealand. The Israeli Ambassador's return will enable us to further strengthen the friendly links which exist between our two countries.”

Our Foreign Affairs Minister's observations are made as if Resolution 2334 was some sort of embarrassing error that had best be disregarded. He claims to stand by it, yetexpresses no interest in promoting respect for its demands and he certainly shows little regard for the generations ofPalestinians who have suffered under Israeli military dictatorship.

How can we contribute to world peace and stability whilecontinuing to reward Israel? Brownlee must be reminded that the government’s duty is to promote respect and compliance with UNSC Resolution 2334 and if Israel refuses then it must face Sanctions. Israel must be brought to account.


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