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On Nigel Woodley's advertisement in the NZ Herald

On Nigel Woodley's advertisement in The New Zealand Herald

In a full-page advertisement published in The New Zealand Herald on Tuesday, Pastor Nigel Woodley of theFlaxmere Christian Fellowship expressed the view that the United Nations should step aside and “allow honest negotiations to go ahead between the Israelis and the Palestinians.” Israel demands that because, as one of the greatest violators of the Fourth Geneva Convention, it wishes to seize remaining Palestinian land in the West Bank, which it already, unashamedly, calls 'Judea and Samaria'.

The only country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East, Zionist Israel's militarism, injustice and cruelty have rightly drawn critical resolutions at the Security Council and the General Assembly. As far back as 1948, Albert Einstein signed a letter to The New York Times that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz recalled, with an introduction that read: “1948: N.Y. Times Publishes Letter by Einstein, Other Jews Accusing Menachem Begin of Fascism. Lest America be fooled by post-Independence rhetoric, the Herut party Begin led was ‘closely akin to the Nazi and Fascist parties,’ they wrote.” Zionism most certainly does not speak for all Jews.

Contrary to the Zionist narrative, there is no guarantee of full equality between Jewish and Palestinian citizens of Israel. The Israeli Association for Civil Rights (ACRI) observes that “the right to equality is not yet enshrined in laws regarding most aspects of life, prejudice and discrimination still run rampant throughout Israeli society”. As the legal academic, Aeyal Gross, says: “Equality cannot be recognised on the constitutional level” since that would challenge “the inequality created by the complete identification of the state with only one group”. Take one example, the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, first adopted in 2003 (PDF), that imposes severe restrictions on the right of Israeli citizens to apply for permits for their Palestinian spouses and children from the Occupied Palestinian Territory to enter and reside in Israel for purposes of family unification.

A reminder: Security Council Resolution 446 (22 March 1979) affirmed (yet again) that the Fourth Geneva Convention was “applicable to Palestinian land, including Jerusalem, occupied by Israel since 1967”. The Resolution also determined that “the policy and practices of Israel in establishing settlements in the Palestinian and other Arab territories . . . have no legal validity and constitute a serious obstruction to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East”. This Security Council Resolution strongly deplored the failure of Israel to abide by UNSC Resolutions 237, 252 and 298, as well as General Assembly Resolutions 2253 and 2254.

The Resolution specifically condemned any attempt by Israel to materially affect the demographic composition of territory Occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem in particular, and to desist from undertaking any transfer of parts of its own civilian population into Occupied Palestinian territory.

Zionists claim that Israel is unjustly singled out but, in reality, its isolation is self-imposed. The 14 members of the Security Council who passed UN Security Council Resolution 2334 are far more representative of world opinion than are the supporters of Zionism. Nonetheless, it will take more than the mere passing of UN resolutions to bring an end to the Zionist state's dismal record of disregard for international humanitarian law. Marking UN Human Rights Day on 10 December 2016, a statement by European jurists reaffirmed the legitimacy of the rightof world citizens to support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. The statement came as a reminder of the failure of States to abide by their commitment, made in 2005, to “strictly respect the aims and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.”

Last month, Haaretz reported that Israel refused to issue travel permits for hundreds of Palestinian Christians from Gaza to make Easter pilgrimages to holy sites in Jerusalem (the Church of the Holy Sepulchre) and Bethlehem (the Church of the Nativity). The Israeli human rights group Gisha described the discrimination as “a flagrant violation of the freedom of movement, freedom of worship and freedom of enjoying family life for the Christians in Gaza.” Father Ibrahim Shomali, Chancellor of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, said worshippers should not even be required to get permits.

Yet we must never give up hope for those who genuinely fall under the spell of ideology. Imagine a future in whichZionist Christians, awakened by voices of reason and justice, find themselves able to embrace their Christian brethren in the Holy Land and recognise our shared humanity with all who live there! END

Leslie Bravery

Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa New Zealand (PHRC)

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