NZ fails at UN to call for Palestinian security

By   /   July 23, 2016  /   19 Comments

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New Zealand’s Representative at the Security Council said in his speech that Israel and the Palestinians should make compromises. That implies that the Palestinian people, under the duress of merciless military Occupation, should make even greater concessions to Israel to help it legitimise its violations of international humanitarian law.


On 12 July, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gerard van Bohemen, delivered a speech to a UN Security Council Open Debate on the Middle East. The speech dealt specifically with Israel/Palestine, recognising that:

“much of the West Bank has been appropriated by Israel. Seventy per cent of Area C, which constitutes 60 per cent of the West Bank, is either occupied by Israeli settlers or otherwise taken by the Israeli State. Meanwhile, Israel is systematically denying Palestinian development.”

This assessment was contained in a report issued by the Middle East Quartet on 1 July.

Our Representative told the assembly that the Israelis and Palestinians should “negotiate with each other and make the difficult compromises necessary to reach an agreement.” Yet It is Israel that steals Palestinian land and denies Palestinian human rights, including the Right of Return o Palestinian refugees. These basic violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention are not, and should not be, negotiable. The Occupying power and the people it oppresses are in no way equal in their ability to safeguard their interests. Any ‘negotiations’ conducted under such circumstances could only be described as stand-over tactics or bullying.

Security for whom?
Palestinians are denied security at every possible level but the speech contained no recognition of this. The only concern for security expressed by Gerard van Bohemen was on behalf of the belligerent Occupying power, Israel. He called for “a solution that would see a secure Israel and an independent Palestine living side by side in peace.” With Israel’s record of militaristic violence, what hope would there be for a defenceless so-called “independent” Palestine state to live in peace? Israel has made clear that any Palestinian state it might eventually permit to exist would never be allowed sovereignty over its air space and coastal waters or any means of defence. This lack of concern for Palestinian security is no oversight – it is fundamental to the racist bias that permeates Zionism, and which has so blinded Western governments and politicians. None of them have ever spoken out for the security of the Palestinian people.

Terror and intimidation
Military Occupation and colonial settlement are enforced daily by the only nuclear-armed power in the Middle East. Israel’s acts of heartless cruelty are plainly aimed at creating despair. For instance, at dawn on the 12 July, the Israeli Army raided the village of Anata, which is almost completely isolated by Israel’s annexation Wall, and destroyed two Bedouin tent dwellings and a poultry farm, along with other farming facilities. In acknowledging the Quartet Report that “lays bare the reality that much of the West Bank has been appropriated by Israel” our Permanent Representative to the UN cautions us that this does not “justify the violence and incitement to which the Report also rightly calls attention.” He says that “terror tactics and intimidation are reprehensible, whoever carries them out” and holds leaders “on both sides” responsible. It is time for a reality check. It is undeniable that the Zionist regime’s military might has been directed against the Palestinian people, with air strikes, hijackings and the sinking of their fishing boats; home invasions and demolitions and destruction of water reticulation and agriculture. If these are not terror tactics and intimidation, then nothing is. Israel is a member of the United Nations, has ratified the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention and is bound by the United Nations Charter. The leaders of Israel are directly responsible.

So what is the real purpose of van Bohemen’s reference to “violence and incitement” and to “terror tactics and intimidation”? He says that the leadership of both sides bear responsibility – but where is the evidence for violence and intimidation on the part of the Palestinian leadership? The examples given in the speech related solely to Israeli acts of violence. Is our UN Representative referring perhaps to the spontaneous acts of violence carried out by distraught Palestinian individuals? There is no evidence to suggest that such acts have been directed by the Palestinian leadership. However, the intolerable pressure and irrational injustices that the Palestinian people are subjected to every day go far beyond what is contained in the Report. Events that never make it to the Western news media occur regularly, such as this bizarre example of the Israeli Military’s arbitrary methods for selecting ‘terrorist’ suspects: At 4am on 9 July, the Israeli Army raided a Palestinian home, demanding that a couple’s infant son report for interrogation as a suspect. The baby had died tragically 22 years earlier!

This month, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published news of an internal Israeli Police report revealing what every Palestinian knows, that Israeli Police “deliberately provoke Palestinians”. In January this year, for example, Israeli forces shot a 12-year-old boy, Ahmad Abu Hummus, in the head, causing severe brain damage, after menacing him in the West Bank village of al-Issawiyeh. The United Nations has documented, from October 2015 to January 2016, at least 2,177 cases of Palestinian children in the Occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem wounded by Israeli Army and Police live ammunition and crowd-control weapons. Since October last year to the beginning of March, more than 40 Palestinian children have been killed. On 26 January this year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon referred to the issue of increasing Palestinian frustration “under the weight of a half century of Occupation”, and on recent violent reactions by some Palestinians, Ban Ki-moon recognised that “. . . as oppressed peoples have demonstrated throughout the ages, it is human nature to react to Occupation”. The Secretary-General went on to say, “continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community.”

Israel’s repeated attacks on UN refugee camps, including air strikes and home demolitions, are also an affront to the international community – and also to the Security Council – but our politicians and news media prefer to ignore them, much to Israel’s advantage.

Perhaps van Bohemen was thinking of Hamas and of missiles fired towards Israel when he spoke of “terror tactics”. The unguided missiles certainly count as ceasefire violations and they do put civilian lives at risk but proportionately do little damage in comparison to that inflicted by Israel’s sophisticated weaponry. For every Palestinian missile attack there are literally hundreds of Israeli ceasefire violations. Hamas has, for years now, actually accommodated Israel by agreeing to negotiate a peaceful two-state solution, dependent upon Israel ending the Occupation and withdrawing fully to its pre-1967 borders. And, of course, Hamas and other Palestinian Resistance fighters target, quite legitimately, Israeli Army forces engaged in acts of economic and agricultural sabotage. United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978 recognises the right to use force in the struggle for “liberation from colonial and foreign domination” and “reaffirms the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, particularly armed struggle.” The Resolution specifically applies to the Palestinian struggle, strongly condemning “all governments which do not recognise the right to self-determination and independence of peoples under colonial and foreign domination and alien subjugation, notably the peoples of Africa and the Palestinian people.” While it is true that General Assembly resolutions themselves are not legally binding, they do accurately reflect the consensus of international legal opinion.

The New Zealand Representative’s speech at the UN refers to measures quoted from the latest Middle East Quartet Report, such as “the need to address the wide range of critical issues facing Israelis and Palestinians, including halting settlement activity, strengthening the capacity and authority of the Palestinian Authority, addressing the situation in Gaza, and reducing tensions and preventing violence and incitement.” First, Israel alone is building settlements and must carry responsibility for that. Second, strengthening the capacity and authority of the Palestinian Authority has nothing to do with preventing “violence and incitement”. Most people, however, would consider the destruction of the homes of refugees to be a form of incitement. The responsibility for acts such as these lies with Israel but they are also the responsibility of the world community, particularly the Security Council. Third, the tragic and appalling conditions that prevail in Gaza have been created by Israel and are being prolonged by a merciless blockade.

Gideon Levy, columnist and member of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz editorial board, writes extensively on the oppression of the people in the West Bank and Gaza. In an article regarding Palestinian resistance to Occupation he wrote:

“They don’t want Israeli rule, or people who set live children on fire. They don’t want armed settlers who invade their apartments in the middle of the night, under the Israeli law’s protection, and evict them. They don’t want a municipality that grants its services according to national affiliation, or judges that sentence their children according to their origin.”

Levy noted that the Palestinian people face two possibilities:

“The first is to accept, give in, give up. The second is to resist. Whom have we respected more in history? Those who passed their days under the occupation and collaborated with it, or those who struggled for their freedom? Imagine you’re a Palestinian. You have every right to resist. In fact, it’s your civil duty. No argument there. The occupied people’s right to resist occupation is secured in natural justice, in the morals of history and in international law. The only restrictions are on the means of resistance. The Palestinians have tried almost all of them, for better and worse – negotiations and terror; with a carrot and with a stick; with a stone and with bombs; in demonstrations and in suicide. All in vain. Are they to despair and give up? This has almost never happened in history, so they’ll continue. Sometimes they’ll use legitimate means, sometimes vile ones. It’s their right to resist.”

New Zealand’s Representative at the Security Council said in his speech that Israel and the Palestinians should make compromises. That implies that the Palestinian people, under the duress of merciless military Occupation, should make even greater concessions to Israel to help it legitimise its violations of international humanitarian law. The futile ‘negotiations’ process (now 20 years old) has simply bought time for the Zionist state to grab more land, build more settlements and continue its ideological agenda.

Article 1 of the UN Charter states, in part, that the purpose of the UN is “to maintain international peace and security, and to that end: to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, and for the suppression of acts of aggression or other breaches of the peace.”

The only part of the speech delivered by Gerard van Bohemen that offers any hope for justice is the recognition that “the Security Council has a fundamentally important role to play.” That role, though, must lie in defending international law and putting an end to Israel’s impunity. That’s what UN sanctions are for!

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About the author

Leslie Bravery

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!


  1. mary_a says:

    Well I guess while rogue state Israel connections are able to influence Wall St and the rest of the financial institutions throughout the world, the disgraceful plight of the Palestinian people are of little significance. In other words, the world is too gutless to react in favour of Palestine, for fear of causing offence to Israel and the influential big money stick it wields.

    Wouldn’t have expected anything else from the NZ UN security council representative! After all John Key is very closely connected to both Israel and the international financial sector, particularly Wall St!

  2. CLEANGREEN says:

    Leslie. this Government have failed at everything now except for taking over our MSM and all assets and sold most of them in record time so Palestine is not on their screen at all until folks march and cause a big fuss and threaten their chances at next election.

  3. Andrew says:

    As the only liberal democracy in the region, Israel deserves our support.

    I suggest you all find out the truth, as witnessed by an independent expert.

    • Andrew, it couod be said that the US was the “only liberal democracy” in the Vietnam War. Do you think the US deserved our support there, as well. (Clue to answer: no.)

      And what about France, testing atom bombs in the South Pacific? They are a “liberal democracy”. Should we have supported France?

      Just because a nation might be a “liberal democracy” is not a Free Pass to aggression and occupation against it’s neighbours. Especially since that “liberal democracy” is in violation of several U.N. resolutions, including illegal occupation and settlement-building on the West Bank.

      Not exactly “liberal” or “democratic” of the Israeli government, is it?

      • Andrew says:


        But all the “acts of aggression” began with their Muslim neigbours attacking them .

        Israel merely defends itself.

        Europe is now getting a sample of what Israel has had to tolerate for decades. Watch now as European politics swings to the right and you’re on the wrong side of history yet again.

        • Mike in Auckland says:

          Yawn, blinkers are worn by many a people:

          Just one of the former Zionist terror groups!

        • Samwise says:

          Bullshit, Andrew. Israel wouldn’t be needing to “defend” itself if it didn’t engage in aggression against Gaza and the est Bank.

          Or are you suggesting that the people of Gaza are a threat against nuclear-armed Israel??

          You can use the same outrageous excuse for China invading Tibet or the Russians invading the Ukraine. What kind of threat do those countries pose against their neighbouring super powers?? NONE!!

          You’re an apologist for aggression and nothing more.

    • Sally's Husband says:

      Andrew, being a so-called “liberal democracy” does not excuse human rights violations, ignoring U.N. resolutions, building illegal settlements, occupying foreign territory, bombing civilians, and all the other ghastly crimes that Israel is guilty of.

      Until Israel ceases it’s blockade of Gaza and withdraws from the West Bank, there will never be a just peace.

    • The Truth says:

      Hi Andrew
      You are wasting your time responding to Bravery’s ramblings and Macskasy comments.You will never change their anti Israeli views.
      Let them prattle on within The Daily Blog because no one takes any notice of them out side of this forum.

  4. Jenny Olsen says:

    New Zealanders should be ashamed that our representative in the UN Security Council has failed to stand up for justice for the Palestinian people. I’m afraid it is just another sign that our government has capitulated to the might of the United States. What a shame we do not have the courage to speak out for the rights of other peoples.

  5. Jenny Olsen says:

    New Zealanders should be ashamed that our representative in the UN Security Council has failed to stand up for justice for the Palestinian people. I’m afraid it is just another sign that our government has capitulated to the might of the United States. What a shame we do not have the courage to speak out for the rights of other peoples.

  6. Mike in Auckland says:

    I think the New Zealand government and UN representative are desperate to “achieve” some progress, as before New Zealand took on the presidency role at the Security Council in mid last year, there was much talk about trying to “revive” the Middle East peace process between Israel and Palestine.
    “Foreign Minister Murray McCully will travel to New York during July and will chair the Council for this event.

    “We will also look to further efforts to jumpstart negotiations on the Middle East Peace Process and focus on bringing more transparency to the way the Council deals with the issues it is confronted with.””

    But they achieved nothing, as I had expected, it was much talk and grand-standing, and hollow words. Little New Zealand may have had sincere intentions, but it has nothing to say at a Council where a veto of any major power stops anything going anywhere. So small nation New Zealand may pride itself to be on that Council, but it has no clout.

    And Israel’s governments are totally insincere when talking about negotiations and peace, that is at least the Likud party that has dominated governments for a long time. They want to keep the Palestinians in nothing else but modern day ghettos, like little “Bantustans” that once existed in South Africa.

    They love blaming things on Hamas and Fatah and such organisations, saying they are “terrorists”. While that may in part be true, re Hamas at least, the state of Israel itself was created and established with the help of terrorists, that is Jewish or rather Zionist terrorists:

    The settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank continue to be maintained and expanded, despite of the odd ruling that some may have to move, as they are illegal.

    Israel also actively encourages immigration of Jews into Israel and does all to accommodate them, some in settlements. It is written into their law that all Jews have a “right of return”, even if their ancestors lived in the diaspora for hundreds or even two thousand odd years.

    So denying Palestinians the same right is highly hypocritical, racist and discriminatory.

    Israel will not give in and make peace, the Israeli Army itself considers it necessary to occupy the West Bank, as a security buffer kind of, should any Palestinians or Arab army ever consider attacking Israel again. Believing anything else is naive to the extreme, or simply lying.

    Any “peace” will only be dictated by Israel on their term, and only if the US and western nations, also Russia, stop protecting Israel as it is, and put pressure on Israel, will there be a change. We can wait a damned long time for that to happen.

  7. Blake says:

    Israel does not deserve anyone’s support. What they have done in Palestine etc. . . . is beyond disgusting and many people living in Israel despise what their govt. is doing. Shame on the U.S. , as well, as they are both war and arms mongers.
    Netanyahu as well as The Bush’s and Tony Blair and Obama etc. should be charged and brought to court for being war criminals.
    Nobel peace price for Obama – what a joke.

    The U.N. is undemocratic and mostly irrelevant and impotent.
    Its sanctions and priorities are, on the surface, well meaning but there dwells ugliness in the core. The U.N. was created for the benefit of the world powers so they can ” continue their geopolitical games. ” They receive MASSIVE funding from many countries and they ” target Israel to secure ongoing funding. ”

    Have they helped create more peace anywhere ? Is their benevolence a cover for their power seeking and corrupt hidden agendas ?
    They have failed and they are not our friends.
    They are more and more looked at as a vehicle for corruption to acquire power over the entire world.
    Google – ” criticism of the U.N. ” — if interested in more on the ugly and hidden side of the U.N. that many are not exposed to and unaware of. Again, the U.N. is not our friend.

    ” The U.N. in its current form, is a toy in the hands of a few powers, much like the Nobel Peace Prize is. If the U.N. is going to be meaningful, it has to be re-constructed ENTIRELY, giving a fair share to every participating country. ” Get rid of their corruption.

  8. Mike in Auckland says:

    The threat to peace comes from both quarters, from Israel and islamist extremists. While we get told this BS by western governments that IS is hard to find now on You Tube, I can find and download hundreds of IS and IS inspired clips every day. Also are Nusra and Hamas very present, so what is being achieved?

    I will not link here, but even an ordinary Google search will take you wherever you may want to travel.

    And this is NOT the dark net, where you can dig deeper into the terror and other networks, the truth is the west and even Russia and China are screwed, they have a lot of means, but the cat and mouse continues, just one example here:

    This is IS at work, no doubt about it!

    • dave says:

      But this isnt about Islamic extremists, this is about Palestinians. And the fact that ISIS and HAMAS have been in conflict with one another doesnt tell you that they are not allied?

      • Andrew says:

        The culture of the region: Everyone is in conflict with everyone else. It’s family against family, clan against clan, sect against sect. Minor alliances of convenience are made to attack a common foe then are reneged upon at a whim.
        The fact that Hamas and ISIS are sometimes in conflict with each other is meaningless.

        Take a look at this chart. If you’re confused, you’re a member of a very big club!

        Also bear in mind this probably needs revising on a monthly basis

  9. Philip Ferguson says:

    I wouldn’t put any store by UN sanctions. We need our own sanctions on Israel – that is, the BDS campaign.

    And we also need solidarity with the Palestinian struggle rater than just seeing them as victims.

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