Dr Salman Abu Sitta is heading to Aotearoa

9 Oct

Dr Salman Abu Sitta sends a video message of greetings as he heads to Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Dr Salman Abu Sitta, well-respected academic, author and member of the Palestine National Council, is coming to New Zealand next week for a two day visit to Auckland and Wellington.

On his visit here he will be meeting with MPs and various government officials in Wellington and will deliver a free public lecture in Auckland.

Dr Salman Abu Sitta’s Auckland talk: “Right of Return is the Only Road to Peace”

The Auckland lecture will be on Thursday 17 October at 7pm at Auckland University, Room 105S (see map below)

This is a free event hosted by the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa – your koha/donation is welcome.

The Facebook Events page: https://www.facebook.com/events/510305393097937/

If you would like to contribute towards the costs of bringing Dr Sitta to New Zealand for this event, please donate here: Bank account name: Palestine Solidarity Network, Account Number: 38 9015 0849542 00

About Dr Salman Abu Sitta and his books:

Salman Abu Sitta was born in 1937 in Ma‘in Abu Sitta, in the Beersheba district of mandate Palestine. He left his homeland when he was 10. His family’s farm estate and village were destroyed in 1948. “My mission is to restore Palestine to its place in the records by accurately rendering the map.”

His book “Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir” (AUC Press, 2016) vividly evokes the vanished world of his family and home from the late nineteenth century to the eve of the British withdrawal from Palestine and subsequent war. He is the author of six other books, 300 articles and papers on Palestine, including “The Atlas of Palestine, 1917–1966” (2010). Through painstaking cartographic and archival work on Palestine, he has single-handedly made available crucial mapping work on Palestine. He is also the founder and president of the Palestine Land Society.

To pre-order “Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir” on Amazon, go to http://goo.gl/G7kEH0

VIDEO: Dr Sitta introduces his book “Mapping My Return: A Palestinian Memoir” [The American University in Cairo Press]

 

 

Anglican Church of Southern Africa votes to join BDS

4 Oct

People come together in South Africa to protest against Israeli violations on the Palestinian people [BDSsouthafrica/Twitter]

Middle East Monitor, 28 September 2019

The highest and most prominent decision-making body of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa (ACSA) yesterday voted to join and support the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against the Israeli occupation.

The church – representing Anglican Christian communities in southern African countries including South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique and Angola – passed the resolution in the city of Johannesburg during its Provincial Synod, which takes place every three years.

Continue reading

Adapting to climate change under ‘water apartheid’

1 Oct

On the edge of downtown Jerusalem, among the ruins of the Palestinian village Lifta, Israeli Jews enjoy natural spring waters that once were central to the life of the village. (Photo: David Kattenburg)

By David Kattenburg, Mondoweiss, 9 September 2019

Climate change is a human rights issue. Nowhere is this clearer than in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), where land and natural resources required for climate adaptation are controlled by Israel, and systematically denied to Palestinians. Of all these resources, none are more vital than water.

‘Water apartheid’, it’s called: Jewish settlers receive copious volumes for cheap, Palestinians scrape and scratch to get what they need, at great cost. A highly asymmetrical, discriminatory and exploitative regime formalized in law, achieved through physical separation and enforced by soldiers and police. The very definition of apartheid.

As water grows scarcer in the fast-warming Middle East, as rainfall variability and evaporative losses climb (Israel is in the midst of a five-year drought), those with access to water, and the capacity to capture, store, convey and recycle it, will survive. Perhaps even thrive. Those who don’t will either move on or perish. Nothing would make Israel happier than to see the Palestinians go away.

Continue reading

News from Palestine

1 Oct

Palestine Weekly Review, 1 October 2019

Presented by Ahmad Abu Rizik, this week’s Palestine Weekly Review is the 13th English broadcast by the 16th October Group in Gaza, in association with Shehab Agency News.

 

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa newsletter Sept/Oct

26 Sep

The next month will be our busiest month since PSNA was redeveloped in June.

We have two guests visiting from Palestine (Julie Webb-Pullman and Dr Salman Abu Sitta) and an evening debate between PSNA National Chair John Minto and the Israel Institute’s Dr David Cumin.

Julie Webb-Pullman tour

Gaza-based Kiwi journalist and war crimes investigator, Julie Webb-Pullman, has begun her speaking tour of New Zealand and raising funds to employ extra war crimes investigators in Gaza.

Details of her meeting are below. If you can’t get to any of her meetings you can still contribute the fundraising efforts for her trip. Details of how to make a donation are above.

The details of her tour are:

  • Monday 23 September Nelson
  • Tuesday 24 September Christchurch
  • Wednesday 25 September Dunedin
  • Thursday 26 September Invercargill
  • Monday 30 September Wellington
  • Wednesday October 2 Wellington
  • Monday 7 October Napier
  • Tuesday 8 October Hamilton
  • Wednesday 9 October Auckland
  • Thursday 10 October Whangarei
  • Sunday 13 October Auckland

Further details of Julie’s tour dates, as well as other events, times and locations can be found here

Adopt an Investigator! (The fundraising proposal behind Julie’s visit)

Although investigators work in pairs, with one female and one male, The Gaza Centre for Human Rights hopes that the generosity of kiwis will fund at least one investigator position for one year, at a cost of $6,000 USD. Julie will be fundraising throughout the country to try to raise this. We are hopeful our friends across the ditch will fund the other position, if we are not able to manage it from New Zealand.

Julie and Yousef’s work on war crimes in Gaza has been published in The Lancet, and presented at international conferences, the most recent being a poster presentation on developing international guidelines for evidence collection in conflict zones. (Attached) They welcome further collaboration with other scientists, researchers and academics for future publication and presentation.

Dr Salman Abu Sitta’s visit

Dr Salman Abu Sitta, well-respected academic, author and member of the Palestine National Council, is coming to New Zealand next month for a two day visit to Auckland and Wellington.

On his visit here he will be meeting with MPs and various government officials in Wellington and will deliver a lecture in Auckland.
The Auckland lecture will be on Thursday 17th October at 7pm at Auckland University, Room 105S (see map below)

Update: Cumin vs Minto debate

The debate between PSNA National Chair John Minto and the Israel Institute’s Dr David Cumin is on Thursday, 3rd October at 7pm at Auckland University in the Owen Glenn Building off Grafton Road Room OGGB5/260-051. The event will also be livestreamed on The Daily Blog https://thedailyblog.co.nz/

The debate came about after John challenged Dr Cumin to a debate (via the letters section in the Press newspaper) after Cumin claimed the Middle East situation was very complicated. It is common for Zionist supporters of Israel to claim the situation is complex – it’s a key tactic they use to discourage people from criticising Israel.

Delegations to Members of Parliament

We are well underway with visits to MPs around the country but we have many holes still to fill!

Are you able to organise a delegation of two or three people to speak with your local MP and deliver a copy of the “Let’s talk about Palestine/Israel” booklet?

If you can, please email secretary@PSNA.nz your local MP’s name. We are aiming to cover all MPs with a visit over the coming six months. Please let us know and we will send you the details of the points that need to be raised with MPs and a copy of the booklet.

3rd Reprint – If you haven’t purchased one yet – buy a copy of our excellent small booklet of common questions and answers on the Middle East conflict.

Have you got your copy yet?
Buy a copy for yourself and maybe a few to give to friends and family. Send your address in an email to bronwensummers@gmail.com and pay $5 online for a single copy – includes post and packaging – add $2 each for extra copies). Account Name: Palestine Solidarity Network
Account No: 38 9015 0849542 00

 

T-shirts and merchandise for sale:

Our spokesperson John Minto recently walked Te Araroa (from Cape Reinga to Tekapo – he will finish in Summer) wearing this T-shirt. He still has the T-shirt but has lost the beard!
We have these T-shirts for sale:
$26 + postage XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS (size 8)
$30 + postage XXXXL, XXXL
Email bronwensummers@gmail.com or phone 03 55 00 132    or txt 0220 850 161

Alternatively, you can buy merchandise including T-shirts from our website
http://www.palestinesolidaritynz.net/shop.html

 

It’s not too late to be part of the important campaign to stop New Zealand military imports from Israel.

Yes, we are still driving this important campaign to make New Zealand an Israeli military free zone.

Send an email to the Prime Minister urging her to use Rule 44 of the Government’s Electronic Tender Service rules to abandon the proposal to purchase $9 million in military equipment from Israel. Rule 44 says the government may exclude a supplier on the basis of “human rights violations by the supplier or in the supplier’s supply chain”.

Here’s an example of the email you could send NOW to j.ardern@ministers.govt.nz

Dear Ms Ardern,
Please invoke government purchase rule 44 to cancel the proposed purchase of $9 million in military equipment from Israel by the New Zealand Defence Force. The company providing the equipment, Roboteam, is an integral part of the Israeli Defence Force and provides equipment to support the illegal occupation of Palestinian land and the siege of Gaza.

It is providing active assistance to the Israeli Defence Force in their human rights abuses such as the murder and maiming of unarmed Palestinian youth (16 killed so far this year) and the detention without trial of Palestinian children and minors.

Please respond urgently.
(Name)

Background: The NZ Defence Force have decided to purchase $9 billion in robots from Israeli company Roboteam.

The founders of Roboteam, Yossi Wolf and Elad Levy, both served as officers in the Israeli Air Force Special Forces before establishing Roboteam in 2009. They developed and supplied a robot to the IDF that was actively used in Operation Protective Edge, the sustained Israeli attack on the Gaza strip in 2014 involving numerous human rights abuses and war crimes committed against the civilian Palestinian population of Gaza (1,492 Palestinian civilians were killed – 551 children and 299 women)

Rule 44 of the Government’s Electronic Tender Service Rules say the government may exclude a supplier on the basis of –
“human rights violations by the supplier or in the supplier’s supply chain”

Meanwhile recent media reports indicate the Roboteam products to be purchased by our Defence Force have been trialled by the Israeli Defence Force in its occupation of the West Bank and on the Gaza “border”. The tests were termed a “success”.

The IDF is renowned for its testing of military equipment on the civilian population of occupied Palestine. It is also renowned for its brutality – for example the murder and maiming of Palestinian children – 16 killed so far this year and its widely condemned detention without trial of Palestinian children and minors. In April this year for example 205 Palestinian minors were being held in Israeli prisons, without trial, as security detainees and prisoners.

Are you able to donate a cup of coffee a month to the campaign?

We will need some serious money to make our campaign as effective as possible. For example, we will need somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000 to bring speakers to New Zealand over the next year and organise large public meetings to help spread the message.

You can help. Are you able to donate a cup of coffee a month to the campaign? In other words, can you afford to make an automatic payment of $5 per month to support the Palestinian struggle? (If you can afford more that would be great!)

Our account details are:
Account name:      Palestine Solidarity Network
Account number:  38-9015-0849542-00
Or Pay Pal account: admin@palestinesolidaritynz.net

We are happy to provide a receipt upon request (however, we are not a registered charity so this is not tax-deductible)

Links to important stories

Victoria University: Shut Down Unethical Israeli Prize
https://www.change.org/p/victoria-university-of-wellington-victoria-university-shut-down-unethical-israeli-prize

Why is this important?
Victoria University of Wellington has refused to remove an essay prize funded by the Apartheid government of Israel. The prize is insulting to the university’s own Palestinian students who have been forced from their homeland by the Israeli government.

The Embassy of Israel Prize of $250 is awarded to one student per year on the merit of an essay on one of the given topics – including “Israel in the Middle East”, “Israel’s bilateral relations with its neighbours”, and “Israel’s democracy in the context of the Middle East”.

This prize is unethical because the Israeli government is guilty of building illegal settlements in Palestinian territory, preventing the flow of essential resources, and denying Palestinians the right to vote. It is a regime akin to Apartheid South Africa.

Petition to stop global tourism sites from profiteering from stolen Palestinian Lands
There is currently a petition from Amnesty International NZ calling on Trip Advisor to stop profiting from illegal Israeli settlements. The target in 1000 signatories, let us help them achieve this!
https://www.amnesty.org.nz/tell-tripadvisor-pull-out-illegal-israeli-settlements-occupied-palestine

Please note Trip Advisor are not the only company to do this, others include Air BnB, Expedia, and booking.com

See Amnesty International’s full report titled Destination: Occupation here:
https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/MDE1594902019ENGLISH.PDF
https://www.newstalk.com/Tourism-giants-fuelling-human-rights-violations-with-Israeli-settlement-listings
https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=92&v=-lk7VLsAKIM

The Daily Blog has regular articles in it about Palestine/Israel 
https://thedailyblog.co.nz/

More ways you can get involved

  • Forward this Newsletter – If you know people who may be interested in this movement, please forward this Newsletter to them. They can sign up themselves by emailing secretary@PSNA.nz
  • Join in local activities in your area monthly Rallies – In Auckland, we hold a monthly Protest at Aotea Square at 2.00 pm on the first Saturday of every month. Please consider doing the same in your community. Contact Secretary@PSNA.nz if you would like to know where and how to get Flags and Banners
  • Help set up a Students for Justice in Palestine group on your campus
  • Tell Your MP your opinions on Divestment and Sanctions of Israel
  • Write Letters to Newspapers – Call Talkback Radio
  • Keep in touch with the campaign on social media
  • Keep Updated on our Facebook pages and websites (listed below)
Regional  
Whangarei Palestine Solidarity Network Whangarei
Auckland New Zealand Palestine Solidarity Network
Hamilton Palestine Human Rights Campaign Waikato
Tauranga Tauranga Moana 4 Palestine
Napier Aotearoa Standing with Palestine
Wellington Wellington Palestine
Nelson Te Tau Ihu (Nelson) Palestine
Christchurch PSNA Christchurch
Dunedin Dunedin for Justice in Palestine
   
New Zealand Affiliates The New Zealand Palestine Human Rights Campaign
  Kia Ora Gaza
  Letters for Palestine
  Boycott Divestment and Sanctions NZ
  Auckland Peace Action
  Global Peace and Justice Auckland

John Minto
Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

Gaza’s economy in freefall: debtors’ prison overflows

26 Sep

A Palestinian man sits next to his cart where he hangs household items for sell in al-Nuseriat refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, August 1, 2019 (Photo: Mohammed Assad) Mondowiess)

By Yousef M. Aljamal, Mondoweiss, 25 September 2019

As Gaza’s economy goes into freefall, the debtors’ prison is overflowing

Karam Marwan, 22, wanted to own a video game store. In 2016 he took out a $5,000 loan from an acquaintance to open the shop. Marwan had recently graduated college with a degree in accounting, but with limited job prospects in the Gaza Strip where he lives, he hedged his bets on starting a small business. In less than a year the video store would shutter and Marwan would be in prison serving a three-month sentence over failure to repay the borrowed seed money.

In Gaza, delinquency on loans is a civil offense punishable by a maximum of a 91-day sentence, according to the Law on Execution No. 23 passed in 2015. The statute allows judges to incarcerate a Palestinian holding a debt, irrespective if that debt is to a traditional lending institution or a private individual. In most cases, a judge will mediate a settlement between the debtors and the financers. Annually, Hamas-run endowments and loan forgiveness programs will pay down or absolve some debts during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, but many Palestinians are left to fend for themselves.

Continue reading

Archbishop condemns extrajudicial executions

22 Sep

The Palestinian Archbishop of Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Church, Atallah Hanna. (Photo: The Palestine Project)

Palestine Chronicle, 22 September, 2019

Archbishop Atallah Hanna, of the Sebastian Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in Jerusalem, slammed on Friday the extrajudicial executions of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, Maan News Agency reported.

His remarks came following the execution of a Palestinian woman at the Qalandiya Checkpoint, between Ramallah and Jerusalem, early this week.

The archbishop described the shooting of the Palestinian woman [Alaa Wahdan] by the Israeli soldiers, as “leaving her bleeding to death” and as an “intentional and clear violation of all international and humanitarian laws and conventions.”

He added: “The series of executions is continuous and escalating, and this savage behavior reflects the criminal mentality and hatred culture which feed the Israeli extrajudicial killing.”

“These horrific scenes which we saw at Qalandiya Checkpoint,” he also said, “where armed soldiers used their lethal arms to execute a lady just because of passing through the wrong lane, is a result of Israel’s immunity policy.”

The archbishop stressed that this is an “absolute international and American collusion with Israel,” asking “who will bring these criminal soldiers, who believe they have done a heroic act when they executed the Palestinian lady in cold blood, to justice?”

He also posed the questions: “Where is the international conscience, values, morals and principles? What is the reason for this doubtful silence regarding the crimes being committed against the unarmed Palestinian nation?”

Concluding his statements, the archbishop proclaimed “the image of this innocent lady, who was executed in cold blood, will remain in our minds and we will never forget this horrific scene, which we hope will reach all corners of the world, to disclose Israeli oppression practiced against the Palestinians.”

(Middle East Monitor, PC, Social Media)

See also our earlier report and video: https://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2019/09/19/palestinian-woman-fatally-shot-at-israeli-checkpoint/

Palestinian woman fatally shot at Israeli checkpoint

19 Sep

By Tamara Nassar, Electronic Intifada, 19 September 2019

Israeli forces fatally shot a Palestinian woman near the Qalandiya checkpoint separating Ramallah from Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.

Israeli police claimed that Alaa Wahdan was walking towards its forces on a pathway designated for vehicles when they asked her to stop.

They added that the 28-year-old from nearby Qalandiya refugee camp pulled out a knife before a security guard shot and injured her in the legs.

In the video above, Wahdan appears to pose no plausible danger to anyone around her when she is shot.

“They could have controlled her,” bystander Mohammed Hammad Jaradat told the publication Middle East Eye.

“They were five soldiers and she was some seven meters away.”

According to eyewitnesses, Wahdan was left to bleed without first aid.

Continue reading

Remember Sabra and Shatila: a forgotten War Crime

16 Sep

VIDEO: TRT World – World in Focus: Sabra and Shatila: A Forgotten War Crime

Refugee Camps become mass graves between September 16 and 18, 1982, people in Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps were massacred. Estimates vary, but about 2,000 Palestinian refugees, mostly women, children, and the elderly were killed. The attack took place during Lebanon’s civil war, a few months after Israel’s invasion of the country.

Robert Fisk: ‘It was a war crime’  – The massacre was committed as revenge for the assassination of Bashir Gemayel, the leader of the Phalangists. The Lebanese Maronite-Christian Phalangist militia wrongly blamed the Palestinians for the assassination, and murdered hundreds while the Israeli army was accused of standing by.

For more on this story, go to: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20190916-remembering-the-sabra-and-shatila-massacre/

 

Netanyahu: Israel will ‘probably’ have to launch another war on Gaza

14 Sep

Israeli PM Netanyahu at Israeli Army Gaza Division HQ. (Photo: File)

Palestine Chronicle, 14 September 2019

Israel will probably have to go to war with the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said today.

In a radio interview with the Kan public broadcaster, Netanyahu said that “there probably won’t be a choice but to launch an operation, a war with the terror forces in Gaza”.

According to the Haaretz, Netanyahu warned that declaring war with the Gaza Strip is “a dangerous” last resort and that he doesn’t intend to endanger “soldiers and civilians to get applause”. He also mentioned that he will refrain from sending Israeli troops to the Strip until they get “optimal conditions” to do so.

Although Netanyahu described the declaration as being dangerous, he mentioned that: “There will be a military operation but I will only launch it when we are ready and not a minute earlier”.

He pledged to “bring down the Hamas regime in Gaza”.

Netanyahu’s latest remarks have been seen as part of election campaigning, where he has been trying to attract right-wing voters ahead of Tuesday’s ballot.

Earlier this week he said he would annex the Jordan Valley and the northern Dead Sea were he to be re-elected. He went on to call on supporters of smaller right-wing parties to vote for him to increase the chances of the right getting into power.

Israel is facing a do-over election next week after Netanyahu failed to form a coalition government following April’s ballot. The latest polls show that his Likud party remains tied with its biggest rival the Blue and White (Kahol Lavan) alliance.

Only a war can cause an election to be postponed, and commentators have previously highlighted that Netanyahu has launched attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip in an effort to bolster his campaign and his chances of winning the election.

Winston Peters urged to condemn Israeli plans to annex vast tracts of Palestinian land

11 Sep

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa’s chair, John Minto [Photo: Kia Ora Gaza]

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa Media Release, 11 Sept 2019:

Winston Peters urged to condemn Israeli plans to annex vast tracts of Palestinian land

The Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has written to Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters today urging that New Zealand condemn the Israeli Prime Minister’s planned annexation of vast tracts of the occupied West Bank of Palestine. 

This is theft on a grand scale. It is a reckless incitement to violence. It is reprehensible.

Such an annexation of illegal Israeli settlements would be a blatant violation of the United Nations Charter and international law. It would constitute a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

It is a travesty of what New Zealand stands for internationally.

Netanyahu made the announcement in his role as Prime Minister of Israel. He has broadcast to the world his intention to commit a war crime. New Zealand must respond.

We have told the foreign minister that the usual patsy diplomatic language of “disproportionate response” or “unhelpful to creating peace in the region” would be wholly inadequate.

Action NOW from New Zealand must include concrete steps such as:

  • Condemning the proposed annexation of vast areas of Palestinian land
  • Cancellation of the proposed importation of $9 million of Israeli military equipment
  • Suspension of the signing of the so-called “innovation agreement” with the Israeli government
  • Expelling the Israeli ambassador

For the past three years New Zealand has taken no significant action to protest Israeli theft of Palestinian land, attacks on unarmed Palestinian civilians or the murder of Palestinian children. Our silence has encouraged the Israeli government to continue its plunder of Palestine.

Silence now is not an option. 

We must send an unambiguous signal to the Israeli government that New Zealand finds the proposed annexation abhorrent.

John Minto

National Chair, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa

VIDEO: AlJazeera reports on Netanyahu’s announcement:

Arab countries have condemned a campaign pledge by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the occupied West Bank. They say his plan would violate international law. Netanyahu said the Trump administration’s so-called “deal of the century'” would provide an historic opportunity for extending Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank and other areas. But Al Jazeera‘s Harry Fawcett reports from West Jerusalem, this may just be pre-election talk.

Literacy rate in Palestine 97.2% despite the occupation

10 Sep

Students walk home from school in Khan al-Ahmar. [Photo: Faiz Aby Rmeleh, via ActiveStills.org]

Palestine Chronicle, 10 September 2019

Illiteracy rates among Palestinians aged 15 years and above fell from 13.9 percent in 1997 to 2.8 percent in 2018, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) said.

In a report issued yesterday to mark International Literacy Day, the PCBS said illiteracy among men fell from 7.8 percent in 1997 to 1.3 percent in 2018, while for females it fell from 20.3 percent to 4.3 percent.

The rate fell from 14.1 percent in 1997 to three percent in 2018 in the occupied West Bank while in the besieged Gaza Strip it dropped from 13.7 percent in 1997 to 2.4 percent during the same period.

Illiteracy, according to the UNESCO definition, is when a person does not know to write and read a simple sentence about his or her daily life.

[According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics, the illiteracy rate in Palestine is one of the lowest in the world. Ed]

PalPlus video, 12 September 2018:

 

Is NZ Government serving the Israel Lobby?

8 Sep

By Leslie Bravery, the Daily Blog, 7 September 2019

On 25 August we sent an email to the NZ Minister of Foreign Affairs, Winston Peters (pictured above), essentially similar to those already emailed to Jacinda Ardern and Ron Mark, concerning the Ministry of Defence proposal to purchase $9 million-worth of military equipment from Israel, and asking that the order be cancelled. The responses from Jacinda Ardern’s Office and Ron Mark can be seen in previous blogs.

Our emails closed with a summary requesting that they clarify the New Zealand Government’s position regarding:

Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law

The proposal that New Zealand should contribute, through trade, to the profitability of the Israeli military

and asking:

In view of the evidence presented [in our emails] and in greater detail online, is the NZ Government willing to declare it unequivocal support for international law with regard to the security and human rights of the Palestinian people living under alien military Occupation?

Israel first, international law ignored

In October 2017, The Jerusalem Post welcomed the appointment of Winston Peters as New Zealand‘s Foreign Affairs Minister because he was critical of this country’s sponsorship of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which the online newspaper described as “an anti-settlement UN resolution that set back ties between the two countries.” The Jerusalem Post also quoted a comment by Politik NZ, the news and analysis website, saying that “the argument about the process has become a proxy for opposing the resolution altogether” with the conclusion that “Labour’s concession to Peters amounts to an indirect acknowledgment that the resolution was wrong.”

Continue reading

Israeli forces kill two minors in Gaza

7 Sep

Khaled Abu Bakr Rabie, 14 (L), and Ali Sami Ashqar, 17 were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. (Photo: via Social Media)

Palestine Chronicle, 6 September 2019

At least two Palestinian minors were killed and over 80 others injured today [Friday 6 Sept] by live bullets or rubber-coated rounds as Israeli forces attacked thousands of protesters taking part in the weekly Great March of Return at the fence separating besieged Gaza from Israel, according to medical sources.

Soldiers manning the separation fence fired live bullets and rubber-coated steel rounds at the protesters who gathered at many encampments along the fence, killing Khaled Abu Bakr Rabie, 14, and Ali Sami Ashqar, 17. At least 48 protesters were injured by live bullets and 33 others by rubber-coated rounds, including two medics and a photojournalist.

Some of the wounded were moved to the hospital and many others were treated in the field hospitals.

Over 310 Palestinians have been killed and about 18,000 others injured by Israeli forces since the outbreak of the Great March of Return protests on March 30, 2018.

100% fake news about NZ govt policy on funding UNRWA deeply damaging to Palestinian refugees

6 Sep

By John Minto, Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa, Daily Blog, 2 Sept 2019

It’s not often we speak out in support of government policy on Palestine/Israel but it’s important for New Zealanders to know that reports the New Zealand government has “withdrawn and suspended” funding for the UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) are 100% untrue.

The UNRWA was established in 1949 specifically to assist Palestinians refugees driven from their homes and off their land by an Israeli ethnic cleansing campaign of massacres and terrorism. New Zealand has been a consistent supporter of the agency since then, contributing approx. $1 million each year.

This fake news about New Zealand funding for UNRWA is being deliberately spread by the US and fanatical pro-Israeli groups in New Zealand to try and undermine UNRWA and create a stampede of other countries to also withdraw support for the agency.

New Zealand’s supposed withdrawal of support for UNRWA has now been reported as true by credible news agencies here and here.

It’s true there is a UN-led investigation into alleged corruption and awful behaviour in the senior management of UNRWA and some European countries such as Holland and Switzerland are taking action on funding in response.

However it’s important to understand that the claims under investigation relate to a tiny group in the senior management of UNRWA and must not be allowed to impact on the heroic work the organisation undertakes in extremely difficult circumstances for millions of Palestinian refugees who have been denied the right to return to their land and homes by the Israeli government.

Meanwhile the truth is that our government has in fact INCREASED our support for UNRWA with additional funding in May this year and the government will evaluate the outcome of the UN investigation before the next scheduled contribution from this country in 2020.

The only losers in the proliferation of this fake news are Palestinians – the victims of Israeli apartheid policies.

The US under Trump withdrew its funding for UNRWA altogether and the US and Israel have called on other countries to do likewise. The US strategy is to somehow try to deny these refugees exist and Israel is trying to undermine any claims for their right of return to their homes and land. Both will fail.

We expect the New Zealand government to resist any pressure to join this small minority of humanity who are on the wrong side of history.

Latest news from Gaza

5 Sep

VIDEO: The latest broadcast from the 16th October Media Group of young Palestinian journalists in Gaza. This weekly news programme is produced in partnership with Shehab Agency News.

ICC calls for new probe into Israel’s attack on Mavi Marmara

3 Sep

Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship [file photo]

Middle East Monitor, 2 September, 2019

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has ordered its prosecutor to reconsider whether Israel should face charges over the deadly 2010 raid on the Turkish aid ship heading to the besieged Gaza Strip.

Fatou Bensouda will now again examine whether to bring Israel before The Hague-based court after it killed ten activists onboard an aid ship.

“The prosecutor is directed to reconsider her decision by December 2, 2019,” Al Jazeera reported presiding appeals judge Solomy Balungi Bossa telling the court today, adding that three out of five judges in the court’s appeals chamber had backed the move.

Bensouda said in 2014 that she would not prosecute Israel over the raid, saying it was “not of sufficient gravity” – which means the case could be determined as inadmissible before the ICC.

READ:Justice is still being sought nine years after Israel’s attack on the Mavi Marmara

VIDEO: Situation concerning the [2010 Gaza flotilla] ships flying the Comorian, Greek and Cambodian flags: Appeals Judgement, IntlCriminalCourt, published 2 Sept 2019

Some justice for Mavi Marmara victims at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.
Watch & share #video as the #ICC Appeals Chamber rules that the Prosecutor must reconsider decision on Comoros referral by 2 December 2019, “in light of specific directions of Pre-Trial Chamber & today’s AC judgment.”
While the wheels of justice continue to turn, the #FreedomFlotilla will continue sailing to #Gaza with our course set on the conscience of humanity.

Israel halves fuel for Gaza’s only power station

29 Aug

Video report by Mohamed Hassan & Khaled Shalaby for Middle East Eye, 29 August 2019.

Palestine Weekly Review from Gaza

26 Aug

VIDEO: The latest news update with Palestine Weekly Review produced in Gaza by the 16 October Media Group in association with Shehab Agency news. Published 23 August 2019.

Ron Mark dodges questions forwarded from NZ PM’s Office

25 Aug

By Leslie Bravery, Daily Blog, 24 August 2019

Following email exchanges with the Prime Minister’s Office featured in the previous blog, which included an email sent to both Ron Mark and Jacinda Ardern, we have yet to receive any response from the Defence Minister. The Prime Minister’s Office has evaded answering questions in both our emails that relate to Foreign Policy and International Law, commenting that “As the issue you have raised falls within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Defence, Hon Ron Mark, your email has been forwarded to the Minister’s office for information.”

On 20 August, another attempt to elicit a reply from Ron Mark was emailed to the Defence Ministry: We ask you to kindly answer the questions raised in the email from us that was forwarded to you on 24 July from Jacinda Ardern’s Office. Please also respond to the follow-up email sent to both yourself and the Prime Minister on 1 August. There awaits mounting public interest in your responses.” This did, at least, prompt an immediate automatic reply from Ron Mark’s office but, of course, it contained nothing relevant to the questions asked. We have yet to receive any answer to these questions from either the Minister or his Office.

Netanyahu

Last April, the Israeli Prime Minister publicly announced his determination to annex the Jewish settlements in the Occupied Palestinian West Bank. He also said he would prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state by “controlling the entire area”. Article 49(6) of the Fourth Geneva Convention, states: “The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” Most UN member states recognise that Israel’s militarily-imposed Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. Built on stolen land, the Occupation settlements are being used to confine Palestinian into ever-smaller enclaves.

In an interview with Aretz Sheva (Israel National News), Netanyahu promised: “There will be no Palestinian state, not as people talk about it. It will not be because I am making sure of it.” The Israeli PM also made it abundantly clear that he was “maintaining a united Jerusalem” as well as “our control on the entire area west of the Jordan River . . .” During the interview, Netanyahu triumphantly reminded us that, “I brought President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem, the transfer of the embassy and the recognition in the Golan Heights, which is very important to what I plan in Judea and Samaria.” So much for a Palestinian state! Calling the Palestinian West Bank ‘Judea and Samaria’ says it all for territorially-ambitious Israel.

Our Prime Minister’s Office response would seem to imply that relations with Israel and questions of international law fall now“within the portfolio responsibilities of the Minister of Defence”. As Ron Mark is a member of the NZ-Israel Parliamentary Friendship group, we need to know just what is our Defence Minister’s position regarding, for instance, the uncompromising disregard for international law exhibited by the Israeli Prime Minister? The Israel Institute has observed that “Ron Mark is a member of the NZ-Israel Parliamentary Friendship group but has not made any public statements in [sic] the issues” which seems to fit with his reluctance to respond to straight questions. While he chooses to remain silent, readers may find a clue as to his ideological leanings in this video of Ron Mark and Benjamin Netanyahu together in Jerusalem

All who care about the sustainability of respect for UN human rights provisions should take action in support of the Palestine Solidarity Network NZ initiative  to urgently cancel a proposed New Zealand Defence Force multimillion-dollar purchase of military equipment from an Israeli company. Keep asking the Minister, again and again if necessary, to answer:

 What is the policy regarding Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law?

 What is the policy with regard to New Zealand contributing, through trade, to the profitability of the Israeli military? 

 In view of the evidence presented in our email and in greater detail online, is the NZ Government willing to declare itunequivocal support for international law with regard to the security and human rights of the Palestinian people living under alien military Occupation?

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