Letter To Jacinda Adern Regarding Current Events In Palestine
Kia Ora Hon. Jacinda
I urge your government to take a strong stand against the imminent ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the Occupied East Jerusalem area of Sheikh Jarrah, and the Israeli state violence being used against Palestinians protesting against these racist, apartheid policies, and against worshippers in the Al Aqsa Mosque and it surrounds.
The Red Crescent reports that in the last few days in Jerusalem 550 people have been injured, with 330 requiring hospitalisation. Scores of others have been arrested in brutal ways.
Protests escalated in East Jerusalem after Israeli restrictions on Palestinians entering their holy place of AlAqsa mosque during Ramadan, and after the intervention of extreme right-wing Israeli politicians, such as Itamar Ben-Gvir who wants to “Expel the Arab enemy”. Ben-Gvir is stoking the flames of race-hatred against Palestinians while he enjoys the protection of the Israeli army.
In the past 24 hours Israeli forces have attacked Gaza, killing 20 civilians, including nine children, and injuring at least 65 more. In addition, a corona quarantine centre west of Rafah has been bombed. These attacks on civilians and protected buildings are clearly war crimes.
I believe the Palestinian people deserve more than sentences of empathy. They deserve action, concrete action.
New Zealand holds itself out as a great defender of the rule of law, and of human rights. It is time for New Zealand to once again lead the world in standing up to gross injustices, as it did with the South African government and its apartheid regime. It must hold Israel accountable for its ongoing violations of international law and human rights in Palestinian territories.
Prime Minister, please show the world that when you donned the hijab to show solidarity with the victims of the Christchurch mosque attack that this was genuine commitment both to the rights of Muslims everywhere, and to the right of ALL religious buildings like mosques to be free from attack, not just those in New Zealand.
I therefore ask that the NZ government immediately suspend all diplomatic and commercial relations with Israel until:
1) the Israeli government complies with all UN resolutions, including the conditions of its membership of that organisation: the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and immediate withdrawal from all occupied Palestinian territories;
2) there is an IMMEDIATE cessation of all Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians and targets, including the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Gaza Strip, and Sheikh Jarrah residents.
Prime Minister, as Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Be kind, but be strong.