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Source: MIL-OSI Submissions
Source: Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

The Palestine Solidarity network Aotearoa has renewed its urgent appeal to the government to act in the face of a distress call issued from Gaza’s Ministry of Health to the world to provide laboratory testing materials for Coronaviruus which will run out this evening (today NZ time) at Gaza’s central laboratory.

More than two weeks ago a wide range of New Zealand organisations and prominent individuals wrote to the Prime Minister urging New Zealand to speak out and call on Israel to abandon its brutal blockade of Gaza to allow Palestinians to fight coronavirus.

The letter and key signatories are here and include New Zealander of the year and President of Equity New Zealand Jennifer Ward-Lealand, Catholic Cardinal John Dew, Islamic Women’s Council Spokesperson Anjum Rahman and Anglican Bishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Philip Richardson.

 

In part the letter says –

The more than two million people living in the blockaded Gaza strip in Palestine are being left to face the Coronavirus with hopelessly inadequate medical facilities and extreme overcrowding – conditions in which the virus will spread rapidly and devastatingly unless action is taken now. 

We urge you to put the welfare of Palestinians alongside concern for New Zealanders and speak out calling for Israel to end its blockade of Gaza and military occupation of the Palestinian territories and allow Palestinians to access the medical supplies and equipment they need to deal with this crisis. 

Meanwhile US senators have spoken out calling on the Trump administration to pressure Israel and 31 members of the US congress have done the same in an unprecedented show of support for Palestinians

 

But not New Zealand, so far.

 

To date the government (both the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs) has been silent when silence is complicity with a looming human catastrophe.

 

Gaza has been blockaded for 12 years by Israel and Palestinians are unable to get the critical medical supplies they need. The United Nations is warning of frightening consequences of coronavirus taking hold in Gaza. 

 

Under International law Israel is responsible for health services in GAZA but the Israeli government will not act without intense international pressure.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Palestinians are “an existential threat” to Israel and is on record as saying “the only way to treat Palestinians is to beat them up, not once but repeatedly, beat them up until it’s unbearable”.

 

New Zealand speaking out is the right thing to do – both from a humanitarian point of view and because what happens in Gaza with coronavirus affects all of us. The health of humanity is now a collective responsibility.

John Minto

National Chair

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

MIL OSI