Palestine Solidarity – Aotearoa combined organisations’ letter to the Prime Minister

22 Mar


The Ministry of Health in #Gaza has just revealed that the first two #coronavirus cases were reported in the Strip for two men who came back from Pakistan last Thursday.

So now the safest place on earth is not anymore, and civilians started to freak out since it would be hard to contain the virus. May God protect us. [We Are Not Numbers. Gaza, 22 March 2020]

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has initiated the following combined letter and petition to our Prime Minister. Please sign the petition and share now. Ed

Jacinda Ardern
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings


Kia ora Ms Ardern,


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.

The usual medical and public policy advice to Palestinians cannot hope to deal with this terrifying scenario. Health officials warn that if the virus enters Gaza, containment and treatment under the Israeli blockade will be nearly impossible.

Gaza’s hospitals are already unable to cope with “normal” medical situations. In March last year the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, reported on Gaza’s “chronic power outages, gaps in critical services, including mental health and psychosocial support, and shortages of essential medicines and supplies.”

In similar vein the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has reported that, even before coronavirus, Gaza’s barely functioning hospitals are dealing with the fallout from thousands of injuries which have resulted from murderous Israeli sniper fire on demonstrators in the ”Great March of Return” protests on the Gaza side of the security fence.

97% of all Gaza’s water is not fit to drink and Gazan hospitals don’t have enough clean water even for medical staff to wash safely. Simply calling on people to wash their hands regularly and keep social distances is a recipe for an unmitigated human catastrophe.

The situation is little better in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank where, as a result of Israeli’s brutal military occupation, medical facilities are also inadequate with serious shortages of basic medical equipment, trained personnel and essential medical supplies.

The looming human catastrophe is clear. When medically well supplied countries like Italy and South Korea have struggled to contain the virus there is no way the hospitals in Gaza or the occupied Palestinian territories will be able to cope.

Each year New Zealand votes at the United Nations for the end of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank and blockade of Gaza.

It’s now critical for the government to back up those votes with effective political action. 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.

John Minto
National Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA)

Jeremy Rose, Marilyn Garson and Fred Albert
Members of Sh’ma Koleinu – Alternative Jewish Voices
(Marilyn worked in Gaza 2011 to 2015)

Cardinal John Dew
Catholic Archbishop of Wellington

Philip Richardson
Bishop, Diocese of Waikato and Taranaki

Archbishop and Primate
Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia

Anjum Rahman
Islamic Women’s Council of New Zealand

Julie Webb-Pullman
(Julie has lived and worked in Gaza since 2008 – currently visiting New Zealand)

Roger Fowler
Kia ora Gaza

Mike Treen
National Director Unite Union
Convenor Global Peace and Justice Aotearoa

Syd Keepa
Maori Vice-President of the Council of Trade Unions

Annette Sykes
Maori human rights lawyer

Janfrie Wakim
Spokesperson Palestine Human Rights Campaign

Leslie and Marian Bravery
Authors of “In Occupied Palestine”

Kevin McBride
Pax Christi

Megan Hutching
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

Jim Consedine
NZ Catholic Workers Movement



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