It almost seemed as though it were John Key himself who was about to go off to fight ISIS, so heroic was his performance in Parliament concerning the sending of New Zealand troops to Iraq. That country is in ruins, both socially and economically, as a result of earlier Western intervention. Following the imposition of crippling sanctions on Iraq, the Western ‘Club’ invaded the country and waged a destructive war, the justification for which was based on demonstrable lies. When asked if the resulting deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children had been justifiable, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said she thought it was “worth it”.
Albert Einstein defined lunacy as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” From the end of the First World War and the imperialist carving up of Middle Eastern societies with callous, geometrically straight lines, to the brutal imposition of Zionist Israel upon the region, the Western ‘Club’ has been building an inevitable legacy of destructive social disharmony and division in the region. Our leaders must somehow be brought to understand that to continue down this same path is to guarantee mounting disaster. Peace requires justice and justice depends upon recognition of the truth.
In a speech on Tuesday, 24 February 2015, addressing the United Nations Security Council Open Debate on the maintenance of international peace and security, the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, observed that as “we move towards the 70th Anniversary of the establishment of the Council, we should listen to the UN membership.” McCully advised the Security Council members to recognise the disappointment and frustration of the smaller members of the UNGA. Many of the members to whom McCully referred, and even more so the grass-roots opinion of the people whom those delegates represent, would agree with the Minister when he says the perception of a “failure to act” has a negative impact on the reputations of both the Council and the UN itself. It must also be recognised that the silence of Security Council members concerning the commission of war crimes by a UN member state that is armed and diplomatically supported by a permanent Security Council member also “impacts negatively” upon the United Nations. As Mr McCully reminded members in his speech, “primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security” lies with the Security Council. Silence is complicity and there can be no hope of addressing what McCully calls “the challenging task of conflict prevention” if the true nature and extent of conflict continue to be ignored.
Ethnic discrimination rules in Israel/Palestine
Day and night, the Occupied Palestinian people live out their lives at the point of Israeli guns while Palestinians living within Israel suffer oppressive, racist discrimination. Last year, 1215 people were made homeless in the West Bank following house demolitions by the Israeli Occupation, the highest figure in six years. But the level of destruction against non-Jewish property within Israel is even greater. In that year 601 Palestinian buildings in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) were demolished while in Israel, in 2013, 833 non-Jewish structures were chosen for destruction. The figures for 2014 are yet to be finalised but by July of that year, 425 homes and other buildings had already been destroyed. One of the villages most under threat is Umm el-Hiran. Over 500 Palestinian Bedouin with Israeli citizenship live in the village, but it is due for demolition next month to make way for an Israeli Jewish-only settlement. The villagers ask why is their village being destroyed when there is plenty of room for all?
An unsealed road leads to the village of al-Araqib in the Naqab (Negev) region of what is now present-day Israel. The village is, of course, older than the Israeli state. Home to a Palestinian Bedouin community, al-Araqib is deprived, in common with many other Bedouin villages, of essential services such as electricity and water. The village is subject to Israel’s racist unrecognised villages policy and, since 2010, Bedouin homes in al-Araqib have been destroyed on over 70 occasions. The Bedouin villagers did have electricity and water piped to their houses, but the Israeli government destroyed that infrastructure and they now have to rely on a well, sunk over a hundred years ago. Across the road in the Jewish-only settlement of Givot Bar, the lush lawns are green and swimming pools full because, although their settlement has been established in a desert, for the settlers there is always an abundance of water.
The Zionist Jewish National Fund (JNF) is building a network of towns in the region exclusively for Jews. Posing as an environmentalist organisation working for afforestation, the JNF actively destroys the trees and crops best suited to the region. It is also dedicated to ridding the land of indigenous communities and their agriculture-based economy to make way for a eucalyptus plantation. Around 4500 citrus, fig and olive trees have been uprooted in al-Araqib in the process. While water for the new eucalyptus trees is supplied by tankers, Israel forbids the Bedouin from bringing water into al-Araqib. Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, is complicit in cutting off the water supply to Bedouin communities and in overcharging other Palestinian consumers. So don’t be taken in by Israel’s presentation later this year of its so-called “water conservation” projects at the Expo 2015 in Milan. Mekorot’s theft of Palestinian water has been condemned by an independent report for the UN Human Rights Council. If anyone should think that the degree of inhumanity described has in any way been exaggerated then they should at least read Section 7 of the above report, Restrictions on the Right to Water.
The Gaza Strip
In addition to all the above there is the appalling suffering of the bombed-out, traumatised population in the hell on earth that is the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip. The malevolent economic and agricultural sabotage practised by the Zionist state against the defenceless population in Gaza continues as if no ceasefire had ever been signed. In January this year Israel perpetrated 40 ceasefire violations. So far this month (to 24 February) Israel has committed 41 ceasefire violations. There has been not one word concerning this at the Security Council and the mainstream news media have also maintained an absolute silence regarding it. Rest assured though that it would make headline news should Israel eventually manage to provoke the launching of even a single missile from the beleaguered Gaza. Here are some small glimpses of present day life in Gaza: Israel floods Gaza – again Israeli ordnance claims another young victim in Gaza After a 14-hour operation, brave Majad (14) says he is just glad to be alive Volunteer British surgeons battle to save three boys. Four-year-old Hassan lost immediate family in blast that shattered his leg.
If there is ever to be peace, sanity and justice in the region the world community must unequivocally require Israel, under pain of severe sanctions for non-compliance, to end its ideologically-driven persecution of non-Jews. The Western alliance’s failure to make this plain to Israel has guaranteed impunity for the Zionist state while signalling to the world the alliance’s complicity with it. This, in turn, raises the question of the apparent selectivity in the application of the alliance’s oft-proclaimed “shared values”. With irrationality on the increase, that could prove dangerously self-defeating. New Zealand’s greatest contribution to world peace and security should be to witness for truth at the Security Council. If our representatives will not do that, then they betray humanity and waste an invaluable opportunity.
The Palestine Human Rights Campaign Aotearoa/New Zealand (PHRC) publishes online daily news of Israeli violence in Occupied Palestine. But these events take place against a background of grinding, relentless suffering under belligerent military occupation that is even less likely to attract world headlines. Over the next few weeks or so we intend to publish here the different aspects of the discriminatory, ideologically-driven violations of international humanitarian law that the Palestinian people are forced to live under:
Life under Israeli military occupation (2)
Israel places checkpoints at the entrances to towns and villages to prevent people entering or leaving. Interference with people attempting to move around towns and villages consists of blocking roads with concrete blocks, barbed-wire and/or earth mounds. People attempting to transport farm produce and other goods find obstacles placed on the roads by the Israeli Army. Trucks have to be unloaded by hand and similarly re-loaded onto vehicles brought from beyond the obstructions. Road closures are used to isolate areas wherever the Israeli Army considers the presence of Palestinians to be ‘illegal’. When the Israeli Army declares a curfew, anyone appearing in the street or at a window is liable to be shot dead. There are instances of Palestinian mothers giving birth at checkpoints, having been denied ready access to hospital. In some cases, mothers have died as a result of Israeli Army indifference.