GPJA congratulates government on Palestinian vote

30 Nov

Global Peace and Justice Auckland media release, 29 Nov 2012

GPJA is pleased New Zealand has finally taken a practical step recognising Palestinian rights by agreeing to vote in favour of a United Nations resolution giving non-member observer status to Palestine.
 
The resolution is a step forward for Palestinians whose rights have been abused, denigrated and undermined by Israel over many decades.
 
It’s pleasing to see New Zealand has broken with the US and Israeli lobbies which are fiercely opposed to the resolution.
 
However New Zealand has a long way to go.
 
Our government’s default position is to side with Israel and under Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully the Israeli government has established an embassy in Wellington and young Israelis can now come to New Zealand and automatically qualify for work visas – both of which are denied to Palestinians.
 
The government has also made ridiculous statements, as McCully did recently, that “Israel has the right to defend itself”. What that means in practice is that Israel has the right to defend its brutal military occupation of the West Bank, its blockade of the Gaza strip, its targeted assassinations and bombardments of Palestinian communities. This is not to mention Israel’s racist apartheid policies towards Arab Israelis who are treated as second class citizens despite having Israeli citizenship.
 
The long way for New Zealand to go includes adopting the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign as the best way for the international community to pressure Israel to abandon its persecution and “slow genocide” of the Palestinian people.

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