In an article published on 7 October, Dr Paul Moon, Auckland University of Technology, called the women whose vessel was hijacked in international waters by the Israeli Navy, “fools”. Astonishingly, he accused Green MP Marama Davidson of having “little understanding of the geopolitical situation in the region”. Dr Moon called the courageous expedition “a ship of fools” and a “cheap media stunt”. In defence of Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people of Gaza, the majority of whom are refugees, the professor actually invoked the Oslo Accords, international maritime law and domestic Israeli law. Yet it is he who claims that it is Marama Davidson who has little understanding of the geopolitical situation in the region!
Israeli domestic law has absolutely no relevance in regard to Gaza or any other part of aggressively-partitioned Palestine, except in the mind of the expansionist Zionist state’s rulers. The Oslo Accords! Paul Moon would rather we didn’t know of the Israeli view of those Accords. 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? International maritime law guarantees the right of vessels to peacefully navigate international waters and to enter waters where they are welcome. The Palestinian people wished to welcome the Women’s Boat to Gaza with open arms. Foreign gunboats prevented them from doing so by hijacking the vessel in international waters.
It is Israel and those who defend its inhumanities that are foolish or, to put it more accurately, irrational. What a propaganda coup it would have been for Israel to have simply allow the unarmed vessel into Gaza. Instead, it chose to use its military might. And to what end? Only to demonstrate its lonely, fanatical obsession with having the power over others to do as it pleases. Dr Moon twice wrote that the women were taken “to safety” by the Israeli Navy, does he really think we are that naïve? The women were in no danger before the Israeli Navy intervened and everybody knows it.
Paul Moon really succumbed to ideological fantasy when he accused the women of having no “matching concern for the indigenous population of Israel”. Israel has passed, and continues to pass, many laws that discriminate against the indigenous population. The Zionist state is one of the few countries that has no Constitution. In place of a constitution there is what is called a set of Basic Laws. Institutionalised racial discrimination against Palestinians in Israel is embodied in the country’s “Law of Return,” which “grants every Jew, wherever he may be, the right to come to Israel and become an Israeli citizen.” This right has been extended “to include the child and the grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of the grandchild of a Jew.” But the Law of Return discriminates against Palestinians and their descendants who were actually born there. Hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who fled the violence and aggression of Zionist militias and Israeli forces, from 1948 until today, have been cut off from their land and property inside Israel. The Law of Return specifically does not recognise their right of return, simply because they are not Jewish.
On 28 June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited a UNRWA-school in al Zaytoun, Gaza where he described Israel’s brutal blockade as “. . . a collective punishment for which there must be accountability. ”
He also pointed out that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip “suffocates its people, stifles its economy, and impedes construction”.
We should ask Dr Paul Moon:
- Where do Israelis have to line up at checkpoints to make the simplest of journeys?
- How many Israeli houses are destroyed by a foreign army of Occupation?
- How many Israeli roof-top water storage tanks, wells and irrigation systems are destroyed almost daily?
- How many Israeli olive trees are set on fire or bulldozed?
- How many Israeli fishing boats get fired upon, hijacked and occasionally sunk?
- How many Israeli homes are invaded throughout the night?
- How many Israeli children are dragged from the beds in the middle of the night, blindfolded and taken away?
These are all common occurrences for Palestinians living under Israeli military Occupation.
On 4 October at 9pm, the Israeli Army raided the Abu Nur Bedouin community in the West Bank village of al-Eizariya, robbed the school of tents that had been set up to replace the building destroyed previously by Occupation troops. A small event relatively, but typical of the banal, daily spitefulness that drives the Israeli Occupation.
Finally, the learned professor reminded us that at the time of the Women’s Boat to Gaza hijacking,
Palestinian missiles were fired towards Israel from Gaza. The question is, what prompted them? It is standard Zionist propaganda to call Israeli violence against Gaza a ‘response’ to rocket attacks. Here are some facts:
In the first quarter of this year, there were eight Palestinian missile attacks, which constitute ceasefire violations, directed across the Green Line from Gaza. That is according to our daily reports which, admittedly, are not always complete. Some Palestinian missile attacks involved the firing of a single rocket, at other times there were several launched. In the same period, there were well over 800 Israeli Gaza ceasefire violations, including air strikes, attacks on fishing boats and attacks on farmers and UN refugee camps. Again, some reports are unavailable but whatever the precise numbers of ceasefire violations may prove to be, the disparity will still be enormous.
A detailed analysis of the process of ceasefire violations in 2014 (Nine days of hope for Gaza ceasefire squandered by Israel) that eventually led to the Israeli ‘Operation Protective Edge’, demonstrates beyond doubt that Israel deliberately provoked Palestinian missile firing, as it still does. For nine days, from the 14-22 May 2014, inclusive, no Palestinian missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip, in accordance with the ceasefire agreement. On those nine days Israel continued to enforce a crippling three-kilometre fishing zone on Gaza fishermen. On 15 May, the Israeli Navy opened fire on fishing boats off al-Sudaniya. On 17 May, the Israeli Navy again opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off al-Sudaniya beach, wounding one crew member, Hussein Assi, while an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on and wounded a Palestinian in Abasan al-Jadida. The following day, 18 May, another Palestinian, Abdel Rahman Mattar, was wounded when an Israeli Army position behind the Green Line opened fire on workers in the north of Beit Hanun. Palestinian forbearance continued when, on the next day, 19 May, another person, Mahmoud Al-Ba’, was wounded by Israeli Army fire on Beit Hanun. The same day, the Israeli Navy opened fire on Palestinian fishing boats off Beit Lahiya. That morning, Israeli Army positions behind the Green Line opened fire on Abasan al-Kabira and Khazz’a farmland. Still there were no Palestinian missiles fired.
Israeli provocations mounted until retaliatory Palestinian missile-firings finally gave Israel the excuse to launch its blitz on Gaza. Had Israel used the nine days of Palestinian ceasefire to reinforce the suspension of violence, the ensuing carnage would never have happened. But for Israel, news of Palestinian missiles is invaluable in diverting world attention away from its brutal Occupation and illegal settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Israel justifies the economic blockade of Gaza as a consequence of the firing of Palestinian missiles whereas, as can be seen, the reverse is true. The Palestinian people have no defence capability against overwhelming Israeli military superiority – their only hope is for the international community to at last shoulder its responsibility for having placed them in this impossible and tragic situation.
The compassionate Women’s Boat to Gaza proved to be an invaluable tool for drawing attention to what the mainstream news media and politicians choose to ignore. It also demonstrates the need to call for UN sanctions against Israel. Does the New Zealand Government have the courage to finally spaek in defence of the Palestinian people? It is certain that Dr Paul Moon fervently hopes not.