NZ Jews Against Occupation Welcomes The News That Foreign Minister Will Urge Parliament To Call A Ceasefire In Gaza
As the death and injury tolls mount in Gaza, this is the least that can be done to save lives and begin a peace and reconciliation process.
Over a month ago, UNICEF was already calling Gaza “a graveyard for children,” and now warns in the strongest terms of “total humanitarian collapse.” We are hopeful to hear that Peters will call for Israel to respect international law, and we expect him to hold this line and ensure that this occurs. We will never forget the targeted murder of journalists, the nurses and doctors struggling to save people in hospitals without water or power, and how many children and babies were treated as “collateral damage” in this genocide.
We will continue to lobby our government to take whatever action it can to prevent further violence, to ensure the release of Israeli and Palestinian hostages, to organise support for refugees, and to hold Israel accountable for its siege on Gaza. We remind Minister Peters that under international law a state does not have the right to defend itself from threats emerging from territories it occupies. We urge the New Zealand government to show leadership and call for urgent peace negotiations and an end to the occupation.
Israel, and all nations, must be held to the same laws as all other countries. These laws are meant to protect everyone from atrocities, and when they are not upheld, every human being suffers. Judaism teaches us that “where you kill one life, you kill an entire world.” So many worlds have been extinguished in these past few weeks. This cannot be our future; we must make another way.
Knowing that so many of these international bodies and laws were codified explicitly to prevent further genocides like the Holocaust gives us particular urgency in insisting that they are followed. This is a litmus test for all humanity.
Dayenu comprises Jews with deep roots and present-day stakes in these issues. We are a diverse group of Jews with shared principles. We include parents, elders, and young people. Some of us are Israeli citizens, descendants of Holocaust survivors, people who have lived in and documented the Occupation in Palestine, academics and scholars, activists and experts, and many ordinary people of conscience who simply cannot live with atrocities being committed in our name.
We are heartened to see Minister Peters call for a ceasefire. The violence in Gaza must end now. New Zealand has always played an outsized role in international affairs; we can play a role in helping achieve lasting peace, justice, and equality for all in the region.
Shalom and salaam,