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Source: New Zealand Unions Activists and Left Political Parties

Headline: Full of sound and fury . . .Palestinian Human Rights Council

On the 15 September 2016, the Hon. Murray McCully, Minister of Foreign Affairs, delivered a statement to the UN Security Council on behalf of the New Zealand Government: The situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

McCully soundly admonished his audience, saying that “history and the international community will not judge us well.” He acknowledged that: “Recent developments with respect to Israeli settlements are of particular concern. The announcement on 31 August of approvals for a further 463 housing units on the West Bank, including 284 new units, is at odds with Israel’s stated commitment to talk with the Palestinians and reach an agreement. So far this year, plans for 2,623 settlement units have been advanced, including the retrospective legalisation of 756 units.”

The New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs quite rightly observed that: “No amount of spin can hide the fact that these actions are a violation of Israel’s international obligations, and have profoundly negative implications for the peace process.”

McCully also said that it is time for Security Council members to “face up to their responsibilities”, reminding them that they are “charged with maintaining international peace and security.”
Having proclaimed all this, it would have been reasonable to expect McCully to urge the Security Council to restrain Israel and at least begin to impose sanctions upon the Zionist State. Instead, he merely appealed for a resumption of the pathetically failed ‘negotiations’ fantasy. The Minister should be reminded that human rights are non-negotiable and that the call for talks evades the principle that violations of international law must never be circumvented or given validity. On 29 November 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu declared that there are no plans to deliver any land from West Bank Area C to Palestinians. In a meeting for Likud Ministers, he stressed that there will be no transfer of land to the Palestinian Authority, “not 40 thousand dunams, not 10 thousand, not one metre.” How ‘diplomatic’ is that? According to the Times of Israel, the President of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Danny Lamm, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency: “The New Zealand Foreign Minister is unfortunately misguided and in his attempt to promote peace has [passed off] blame on Israel when in fact there is no peace for one reason only: Israel’s enemies don’t want peace.”

McCully told the Security Council: “The international community does what it can to support the parties in resuming negotiations; and yet despite the best efforts of a range of players, we are no closer to a solution.” No closer to a solution because, as McCully knows full well, years of ‘negotiations’ have produced nothing but time for Israel to grab more Palestinian land and build more settlements. The so-called ‘negotiations’ process, works solely in Israel’s favour; it matters not whether the talks are being suspended or taking place. Why would anyone continue to believe that this process can ever lead to peace with justice?

Our Foreign Minister said: “We are not a part of this troubled region. We have no baggage, no vested interests. We try hard to bring a fair and balanced perspective to this complex and difficult topic. And today we say to both parties that they are falling seriously short of the expectations of the international community.” But New Zealand does have baggage – it voted for the partition of Palestine, knowing well that the indigenous people opposed it and wished for the self-determination that should have followed the First World War allied victory. Instead of calling for sanctions to be imposed against Israel to persuade the Zionist state to cease its gross violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, New Zealand follows lamely in the footsteps of the pro-Israel Western ‘club’. The opportunity for this nation to raise a truly independent voice at the Security Council has been sadly wasted.

Having condemned Israel’s intransigent settlement building enterprise, McCully felt it necessary, as he saw it, to balance his address to the Security Council by saying that the “Palestinian side too has fallen short of the expectations we should all have. Violence against Israeli citizens continues to be condoned.”

Where is the equivalence that McCully implies by making such an observation? Israel, a nuclear-armed power, has been promised by the United States a record $38bn military aid over the next ten years. That is the greatest US assistance to any country ever. This is being given to a state that is militarily Occupying and oppressing a people who have no army, navy or air force and, indeed, no means of defence whatsoever. As the World Council of Churches has observed: “One cannot keep an entire people subject to pressure and violence for many years and not expect a violent reaction.” The International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) insists that any people whose land, livelihood and dignity are being taken from them by colonisers have a right to resist such violence.

The Palestinian people, who are permitted no security either in their homes, in UN refugee camps or in their olive groves and fishing boats, can look only to the world community for any hope of restraint being placed upon Israel. The Israeli historian and professor of history, Ilan Pappe, has observed: “Jewish settlers and native Palestinians share a land and will do so also in the future. The best way to fight anti-Semitism today is to turn this land into a free democratic state that is based as much as possible on just and equitable economic, social and political principles.”

Present policy towards Israel and Palestine guarantees more suffering and instability, which is why a speech such as McCully’s signifies nothing but endless injustice and conflict.