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Peters Criticism Of Israeli Annexation Plan ‘All Gums And No Teeth’

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa is pleased that the Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, has today expressed serious concern at Israeli plans to annex large parts of the Occupied West Bank, but says the New Zealand government is failing to use any leverage to get Israel to take any notice.

PSNA National Chair, John Minto, says the statement is ‘all gums and no teeth’.

“New Zealand governments have been saying ad nauseum that Israel should give up territory which it occupied in the 1967 war, ever since Israel fought that war to take more Palestinian land.”

“However by never joining with other countries to put real pressure on Israel to comply with international law and United Nations resolutions, Israel is now poised to commit another flagrant breach of international law and extinguish the last hope that Palestinians could ever achieve statehood.”

Steps New Zealand should be taking to back up its criticism of Israel include:

  • suspending our bilateral agreements with Israel
  • prohibiting the importation of products of illegal settlements made in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • instructing the Superannuation Fund to disinvest in any Israeli company complicit in settlement activities or land confiscation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories
  • ending arms and military equipment purchases from Israeli companies
  • closing the Israeli embassy (as we did when Israeli Mossad agents stole New Zealand passports in another breach of international law)

“We still import Israeli goods from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and our Superfund still invests in Israeli companies which profit from illegal settlement building and the occupation.”

When Russia annexed Crimea our then Foreign Minister Murray McCully put in place some limited sanctions on individuals associated with the annexation. Despite much more egregious and long-standing breaches of international law and UN resolutions by Israel, Peters is signalling no such steps.

“Any objective look at the situation will show Peters’ claim of New Zealand’s “principled and balanced approach to the Middle East Peace Process” is a fairytale”. The conflict derives from Israel’s brutal military occupation of Palestine in the first instance. It is not a “both sides have legitimate issues and grievances”, as Mr Peters claims”

New Zealand should also NOT be calling for direct negotiations to solve these issues because the power imbalance will prevent a solution based on justice for Palestinians. Instead we must insist that Israel abide by international law and United Nations resolutions and take action with other countries to force compliance on this rogue state. That is the only path to peace based on justice.

John Minto says Israel has become increasingly identified as an apartheid state.

“New Israeli nationality laws have reinforced the permanent supremacy of people with Jewish ancestry over the indigenous Palestinians.”

As Nobel Peace prize winner and South African Archbishop, Desmond Tutu, says “we should name it apartheid and boycott”

New Zealand has a proud history in the fight against South African apartheid. We must do the same against Israeli apartheid”

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