The address to the United Nations Security Council on 15 January 2015, made by New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Jim McLay, and reported at the time on the NZ Government website was the subject of a press release from the Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand (PHRC). The press release quoted from the report and criticised some of McLay’s remarks regarding Palestine, the Palestinian people and the so-called peace process. Unfortunately, anyone who visits that site now will find that Jim McLay’s speech to the Security Council has been replaced by a statement from Murray McCully. More interestingly, McLay’s important opening address to the UNSC has been transferred to the website New Zealand Foreign Affairs & Trade but all references to Palestine have been removed.
The issue of Israel’s persecution of Palestine and Palestinians is at the epicentre of the destabilising influences that threaten world peace and harmony. Rather than being removed from sight, the New Zealand Government should be making full use of its historic opportunity to make an enlightened contribution towards the reformulation of global politics away from Great Power obsessions to one of service to humanity, peace and true stability. Our government should step away from the hypocrisy of abandoning the defenceless Palestinian people to ‘negotiate’ their freedom and honestly recognise the immense imbalance of power here. Whether they live in Israel or in Israeli-Occupied Palestine, Palestinians are discriminated against solely because they are not Jewish.
In his article Moving beyond the two state solution, Miko Peled, the son of an Israeli Zionist General, writes:
“The Two State Solution and the Road Map are the latest in a series of failed attempts to solve the Israeli Palestinian conflict through partition and segregation. The best one can expect from pursuing these options is a dangerously volatile status quo.”
“Try as we may to pretend that Israel is a Western style democracy, it is simply not the case. The government of Israel controls the lives of five and a half million Jews who enjoy the freedoms of a democracy, 1.4 million Palestinians who live as second-class citizens within Israel but with severely limited civil rights and 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who are deprived of all civil and human rights. Of the estimated ten million people living in historic Israel/Palestine today half are Israelis and half Palestinians. To bring a just and lasting end to the conflict the state must be divorced from religious or ethnic identity and provide all citizens equal rights. In other words, a secular, constitutional democracy that will protect the rights of all Palestinians and Israelis but will be the sole proprietorship of neither one.”
Israel’s Occupation and massive annexation of crucially valuable, fertile Palestinian land has irrevocably rendered the West Bank inseparable from Israel. The huge settlements and Jewish-only highways that Israel has built in the West Bank have become integrated into Israel. The geography, economic resources and demographics no longer allow for the creation of a viable state in the West Bank, or anywhere else in historic Palestine/Israel. Israel proclaims that Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal and undivided capital, a flat denial of the city’s actual internationally recognised status that slams the door on negotiations and in the face of anyone who would contest Israel’s assertion.
On 4 June 2008, Barack Obama, addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Council (AIPAC) as US Democratic Party presidential nominee, assured Council members that, “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided.” Obama told AIPAC members that he was a “true friend” of Israel and that the US bond with the Jewish state was “unbreakable.” Yet Jim McLay, speaking to the Security Council, praised what he called the “ongoing efforts of the United States to resolve this issue” and went on to insist that “US leadership is indispensable.” The US has recently agreed to fund the replacement of munitions and ordnance used by Israel in its latest deathly, destructive onslaught on Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has insisted that any future Palestinian ‘state’ that might be allowed to exist one day in the future would most certainly be allowed no means of self-defence or control of its airspace.
There needs to be a complete reappraisal by the world community and recognition, rather than denial of reality. Israel has committed 38 violations of the Gaza ceasefire so far this month while the Palestinian Resistance has refrained from any form of retaliation. UN Security Council Resolution 1860 obliges Israel to open the Port of Gaza and facilitate the free movement of goods and people between Gaza and the West Bank. Why has the New Zealand representative at the Security Council not demanded action by the Security Council to require Israel to end its ceasefire violations and implement Security Council resolution 1860? This important step would bring appropriate public pressure to bear upon the permanent members of the Security Council to shoulder their responsibilities. The world at large has already recognised this responsibility.
New Zealand’s voice could herald historic foresight and action for change. Let’s fervently hope that the removal of all reference to Palestine in the latest NZ Government posting of Jim McLay’s speech to the Security Council doesn’t mean that our leaders have already put Palestine in the too-hard basket. Palestine is everyone’s responsibility.
Leslie Bravery is a Londoner with vivid World War Two memories of the Nazi blitz on his home town. In 1947/1948 His father explained to him what was happening to the Palestinians thus: “Any ideology or political movement that creates refugees in the process of realising its ambitions must be inhuman and should be opposed and condemned as unacceptable.” What followed confirmed this assessment of the Zionist entity a hundredfold. Now a retired flamenco guitarist, with a lifelong interest in the tragedy of what happened to the Palestinian people, he tries to publicise their plight. Because the daily injustices they suffer barely get a mention in the mainstream news media, Leslie edits/compiles a daily newsletter, In Occupied Palestine, for the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. These days, to preserve his sanity, he enjoys taking part in a drama group whenever possible!