Contracting Out Foreign Affairs To New Zealand First Is An Embarrassing Copout
While the world is speaking out in condemnation of Israeli plans to annex vast swathes of Palestinian land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories the New Zealand government’s silence is deafening.
To the best of our knowledge the current government has NEVER spoken out against the racist policies or brutality of Israel, even in 2018 when Israeli snipers were killing unarmed Palestinian protesters, many of them children, through the Israeli blockade fence around Gaza.
It seems the Prime Minister is happy to contract out foreign policy to New Zealand First and then wash her hands while the murder and mayhem of Israel’s daily cruelty towards Palestinians continues unchallenged.
The previous National-led government had a much more principled policy and co-sponsored United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 which condemned Israel’s flagrant violations of international law.
New Zealand has moved from being part of the solution – pressure on Israel – to being part of the problem itself – international silence which means complicity with Israel’s criminal behaviour.
PSNA wrote to the Prime Minister again yesterday on this – that letter follows.
National Chair PSNA
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa
10 June 2020
Kia ora Ms Ardern,
New Zealand government silence on annexation is an embarrassment to decent New Zealanders
Following the letter we sent to you on 26 May, to which we have not received a reply, events have begun to move quickly and there is mounting pressure on Israel from around the world to abandon its plans for the annexation of Palestinian land in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
- The Palestinian Authority has withdrawn from all co-operation agreements with Israel and says Israel alone is responsible, as the occupying power under international law, for the safety and security of Palestinians.
- Jordan’s King Abdullah II has said that with the proposed annexation Israel is on a course for “massive conflict” with his country.
- Similar warnings have come from the United Nations, the European Union, the Arab League, Canada, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
- Jewish voices have also been raised against annexation with many prominent Jews in the United Kingdom saying annexation would “inflame tensions locally and cause regional destabilisation”
- Jewish Voices for Peace in the US and Alternative Jewish Voices in New Zealand are two of many other Jewish groups speaking out against annexation.
- In Israel itself a large march of Jewish and Palestinian citizens protested together in the centre of Tel Aviv last weekend with former US presidential candidate Bernie Sanders beaming in to say “The plans to annex any parts of the West Bank must be stopped. The occupation must be ended and we must work together for a future of equality and dignity for all people in Israel and Palestine. The only future is a shared future,"
The New Zealand government’s public silence is an embarrassment.
The previous National-led government spoke out firmly and publicly against Israeli breaches of international law – for example through co-sponsoring United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 in December 2016 which said Israel’s settlement building on occupied Palestinian land constituted a "flagrant violation" of international law and had "no legal validity". It demanded Israel stop such activity and fulfil its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In contrast your government’s silence is deafening.
Your silence will be welcomed by the Israeli leadership as it prepares to thumb its nose at international law but will be condemned by those who seek peace based on justice in the Middle East.
Silence is not an option. The time to speak out is now when pressure from New Zealand can have its greatest effect in concert with the international community. Making a whimper of protest after the deed is done would be a tragedy for New Zealand’s integrity and international standing. It would be a failure of moral leadership.
Please respond urgently.