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


Normalise Palestine, Not The Occupation

Aotearoa-New Zealand and Palestine each have populations of five million people. With the exception of several Pacific Islands, we New Zealanders are the most distant people from Israel-Palestine. What can a few dozen New Zealanders of Muslim, Jewish, Christian, secular and other identities do from a small country at the bottom of the world?

We – members of Wellington-Palestine and Alternative Jewish Voices – work together because we see in the Palestinian people other human beings whose equal human rights are being crushed in a disastrous and illegitimate occupation. We seek solutions that begin with the restoration of rights and equal standing, as preconditions (not rewards) for a political solution.

As an occupied people, Palestinians are entitled to protection, but protection is not a dynamic of change. So much time and energy have been expended in the past few years to slow the losses of the Trump-Netanyahu embrace. In those efforts, Palestinians have been too often reduced to being the object of our protection. Protection is no substitute for recognising Palestinians as political actors and as agents of resistance and social change.

Here in Aotearoa-New Zealand, we believe we can capitalise on a moment of national change to reframe the issue. NZ recently elected a centre-left government with an historic majority, led by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She has a rare ability to make waves with good, basic, principled statements. However, since our diplomatic initiative on UN Resolution 2334, our government has fallen decidedly quiet about Palestine.

"The previous coalition government had their hands tied by the Foreign Minister, Winston Peters. Peters had no interest in the Palestinian cause and failed to raise his voice against Israel's breaches of human rights, even when unarmed protesters were being picked off by IDF snipers during the Great March of Return,” says Neil Ballantyne of Wellington-Palestine.

On November 6, 2020, a new Foreign Minister took office. Nanaia Mahuta is the first Maori woman to serve as Foreign Minister, with 24 years of parliamentary experience. Her community focus and Cabinet portfolios have included indigenous land rights, water quality, and Māori development.

Now that’s a reset.

Alternative Jewish Voices and Wellington-Palestine submitted a briefing on Palestine to the incoming Foreign Minister, urging her to uphold the laws that governments have signed in our names. We want our government to call for an end to the blockade and recognise the State of Palestine, to condemn the detention of children, to formulate policy that recognises Palestinians as whole people and indispensable partners in any real solution.

Those calls are not new, but we hope that they will finally reach a differently attuned ear. Land rights, clean water, autonomy and development; we hope that Nanaia Mahuta will have the courage to ask why Aotearoa-NZ has helped to withhold such basics from the Palestinian people for so long.

Our government has habitually asked, ‘Shall we bestow these things?’ when the real question is, ‘Who are we to withhold them?’

When the question is reset in this way, the recognition of Palestine becomes an obvious answer. Things don’t change until people have equal standing to speak as of right about their own land, resources and futures.

To reset the conversation in those terms, Alternative Jewish Voices and Wellington Palestine are focusing on the call to recognise the State of Palestine. Recognition is not a reward. It is a baseline and a precondition for a political project. On a personal level, to withhold recognition is to deny Palestinians full, normal participation in a world of state-based systems, simply because they were born Palestinian. Why should a Palestinian child lack a passport, or use of the water beneath her family’s land, or access to websites that work in Israel?

Those are questions that bring Palestinians into focus as whole human beings. Our lack of recognition is a willful refusal to see and hear from Palestinians as our equals. Marilyn Garson, member of Alternative Jewish Voices and author of Still Lives – A Memoir of Gaza, will bring that statement to half a dozen towns and cities in the coming weeks on a speaking tour. We think the message will resonate widely.

For more information, contact Wellington-Palestine at: contact@wellingtonpalestine.nz

Contact Alternative Jewish Voices / Sh’ma Koleinu at contact@ajv.org.nz

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Epic Fails Of Kris Faafoi

Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither been kind nor just, especially to the migrants whose skills New Zealand will need to get us through Covid, and grow the economy into the future... More>>

Covid-19 & Government: Government Green Lights Rapid Antigen Testing

Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall... More>>



Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>


Government: Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast... More>>

Healthcare: Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today... More>>


Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>

Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>

Children's Commissioner: Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
The Children’s Commissioner and Assistant Māori Commissioner are calling for a plan for the mandatory vaccination of teachers and the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand... More>>




InfoPages News Channels