The Kiwi Connection In Palestine

By   /   April 24, 2018  /   15 Comments

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I DON’T KNOW which is more embarrassing: to have a lawyer called Trotter defending a woman who prostituted her own daughter; or a PhD history candidate called Trotter “Exploring the Kiwi connection as Israel turns 70”.

I DON’T KNOW which is more embarrassing: to have a lawyer called Trotter defending a woman who prostituted her own daughter; or a PhD history candidate called Trotter “Exploring the Kiwi connection as Israel turns 70”.


On balance, I’d have to say that the PhD history candidate is the more embarrassing of the two. That our justice system goes out of its way to ensure that every accused person is provided with effective legal representation is something of which we should all be proud. So, I doff my hat to Karl Trotter for his defence of the indefensible. To Sheree Trotter, however, I have only questions to offer – not the least of which is: How could a PhD history candidate’s description of Israel’s “Kiwi connection” not include the moving ceremony at Rishon LeZion and the brutal massacre at Surafend?

Rishon LeZion (The First of Zion) was one of those settlements involved in what was, rather quaintly, referred to as, “the upbuilding of Palestine”. On 4 November 1917, New Zealand troops had participated in the Battle of Ayun Kara, located very close to Rishon LeZion. Twelve months later, the leader of the Zionist settlement invited the New Zealanders (who were still encamped close by) to a commemorative ceremony.

The small Jewish community had erected an obelisk in memory of the New Zealanders who fell at Ayun Kara, and its Mayor had prepared a speech:

“These dead have not only fought for their country, they have planted the flag of justice and lit the torch of liberty. Its light will never be extinguished. You have placed marking stones along the route to the future. These markers, formed by your tombs, will cause those who come after to meditate: ‘It is just about a thousand years’ they will say, ‘since, on this very soil, Western lords came with the sacred flame of religion and in the name of the Cross to liberate the Holy Land from the infidel. And now, after long delay, these same children of the West have come again in their thousands, glowing with ardour, animated by the thirst for liberty, justice, and fraternity, to liberate the same country from the yoke it has borne for nearly five centuries.”

Stirring words – and they clearly left a deep impression on the Kiwis. Because, just over a month after the ceremony at Rishon LeZion, on 10 December 1918, animated no doubt by their thirst for “liberty, justice and fraternity” troopers of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade, backed by their comrades in the Australian Light Horse, inflicted a gruesome collective punishment upon the inhabitants of the Palestinian village of Surafend.

The night before, in the course of a botched robbery, a Palestinian Arab had shot and killed a New Zealand soldier, Trooper Leslie Lowry. The offender had been tracked back to Surafend and the Kiwis ordered the villagers to hand him over for punishment. When the villagers refused, the Kiwis and their Aussie mates, some 200 men altogether, marched the women and children out of the village and then proceeded to attack the men and boys who remained.

Their weapons of choice were pick-axe handles and the heavy, canvass-sheathed chains used to haul supply wagons and field guns. They swung these with deadly effect against the Arab defenders. By the time the Kiwi and Aussie troopers marched out of Surafend, by now a smoking ruin, more than 40 Palestinian Arabs had been killed or wounded.

The massacre had taken place in defiance of the Brigade’s commanders and with the connivance of more than a few junior officers. The Commander-in-Chief of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force – the occupier of Palestine following the cessation of hostilities – Major-General Edmund Allenby, was furious. Forming the ANZAC’s into a hollow square he unleashed a tongue-lashing the like of which no British or Empire troops had heard for many, many years:

“I was proud of you as brave soldiers but now I am ashamed of you as cold-blooded murderers.”

This outburst aroused such mutinous resentment among the New Zealand and Australian troops that Allenby was soon forced to retract his words. In the weeks ahead, as the British tightened their grip on the former Ottoman possessions in the Middle East, they would have need of that ANZAC muscle. When the New Zealand and Australian troopers were ordered into action against protesting Arab nationalists, the dreadful reputation they had fashioned for themselves at Surafend rode ahead of them.

Thus, was the Balfour Declaration, which promised the Jews a national home in Palestine, given effect. Such, was the Kiwi connection with one of the earliest Zionist communities in Palestine. That sorrow-filled stretch of earth which would, thirty years later, become the State of Israel.

The lesson imparted by those murderous Kiwi and Australian soldiers on the night of 10 December 1918 – that Palestinian Arabs could be collectively punished with impunity – was one the Zionists never forgot.

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  1. Historian Pete says:

    A stark reminder that N.Z is not as innocent of war crimes as we would like.How can we make reparation? Well, standing on our own as a fearless country with a completely independent honest Foreign policy would be a good start, not slobbering on the jackboots of the U.K., France, and U.S Empire Troika.We have done it before.Why not now!?!

    • David Stone says:

      Soldiers are the same everywhere. The war environment necessarily destroys their humanity . We have an important evolutionary hurdle to cross, and there’s no bridge under construction yet.
      D J S

      • countryboy says:

        Exactly. @ DJS.

        The human mind’s more fragile than the back bone.

        War, like abhorrent politics, creates monsters and it takes generations and generations to rebuild a common empathy in Us yet the damage that can be done to Us can seem to happen almost over night.

        No bridging can be done while the Banks make money from that dysfunction.

  2. aom says:

    The conclusion of Sheree Trotter’s propaganda diatribe reads, “But in spite of all the difficulties Israelis – Jews, Arabs and other ethnic groups – thrive, embrace life and enjoy a vibrant and dynamic society.” Priceless that it was published on the Herald website at around the time that yet another young teenager, Mohammed Ayoub from Gaza had his brains splattered on the ground – the result of a murderous IDF sniper’s shot to his head. He was unarmed and about 200 to 300 metres away from the border fence.

  3. esoteric pineapples says:

    This is a must watch interview by journalist Abby Martin with fellow journalist Max Blumenthal on what is currently happening to the Palestinians in Israel. I for one, didn’t know that in Gaza an entire city was flattened by Israeli forces last year. The video has been banned in 28 countries by Youtube including Britain.

  4. Wanman says:

    We would do well to remember this when considering the current Afghanistan controversy involving NZ troops.
    As I have said many times, this type of thing has occurred since warfare began. The revelations from Nicky Hager are not something new.

    This does not justify such behaviour but it is worth thinking about. It makes one realise that peace is worth working for as that is the only way it will cease altogether.

  5. Lucy says:

    I would have thought that you would have hailed a lawyer called Trotter defending a woman who prostituted her own daughter – as a fair justice system requires that everyone is entitled to counsel. Also you are incredibly judgemental about how this situation unfounded. A woman with children unable to work as she is an overstayer and there was one sentence that implied she was also prostituting herself to survive. The judges comments that she is the most hated mother in NZ does not equate with the fact that our legal system failed to bring any of the pedophile clients to account! The crimes against the girl were not perpetrated by the mother – yes she facilitated but the crimes were all committed by the clients. Sorry off track but your first sentence really annoyed me!

    • Lone comet says:

      With you on what you say here Lucy. To keep digressing on what jou say… this terrible situation seems a typical example of the abused becomes abuser in a desperate situation. Brutality becomes the norm. Also would like to note, the mother had a partner also involved, minimal comment about him, was he around when the mother started prostituting her daughter?

  6. stephen says:

    Lord Allenby didn’t care about Palestinian he was doing what he was told securing Palestine from the Turks for it strategic value (Suez Canal) and the promise of a Jewish state supported by powerful people like “Lord Baron De Rothschild” a French nationalist who actually was the first European Jew to setup the very first “Kibbutz” in Palestine whilst purchasing land in the late 1800 and earlier 20th century. The European Jew was assertive more so then the pious Arab Jews in Palestine whom lived with it fellow monotheist cousins peacefully for centuries but Zionist changed that

  7. Ryan says:

    Could you please provide references to your speech quotation?

  8. John W says:

    There will never be peace when power of money is harvested by those who claim to be above law and collectively bound by religion.

    The bigots earn all the scorn heaped upon them but obviously scorn alone does not deter them from continuing to act as a predatory blight on those who suffer because of them world wide.

Authorised by Martyn Bradbury, The Editor, TheDailyBlog,