Murderous and destructive Israeli Occupation regime
From 26 May to 9 June, inclusive, Israel committed 41 Gaza ceasefire violations, 14 of which comprised Israeli Navy attacks on Palestinian fishing boats. One person in Gaza died of wounds inflicted in 2018 in a March of Return protest. Over the period, Israeli forces conducted 104 raids on Palestinian towns and villages, as well as UN refugee camps. Of these, 46 involved home invasions – 20 of them conducted at night.
Constant, daily, Israeli Occupation destruction of homes and businesses, agricultural sabotage, raids and oppressive population control continued to be inflicted – far too many to recount here. Just one violation from each day must suffice:
Salfit – Israeli forces issued destruction orders against ten wells in al-Zawiya.
Jerusalem – the Israeli Occupation ordered resident, Nasser Siyam, to destroy his home in Silwan – or be forced to pay an extortionate sum to the Israeli Occupation demolition squads, who would otherwise be sent in to do it.
Hebron – dawn, Israeli Occupation forces ordered a halt to the dawn Call to Prayer at the Al-Ibrahimi Mosque, interfering with the number of people being allowed in,and even forcing out other worshippers who had gathered to pray in the outer courtyards.
Jerusalem – Israeli police officers, in the Old City of Jerusalem, shot dead an unarmed, autistic Palestinian who, they claimed to believe, had been carrying a weapon. The murdered man, 32-year-old Iyad el-Hallak, was shot while making his way to an Old City special-needs school, at which he attended. Israeli police had ordered him to stop and, because he hadn’t obeyed them, shot him ten times, leaving him on the street, bleeding to death. Later, the Israeli police transferred Iyad’s body to the Abu Kabir Forensic Institute where, as admitted by pathologists in 2009, organs were harvested from dead Palestinians, and others, without the consent of their families. Israel claims they ended the practise in the 1990s. The reason for Iyad’s transfer was not made clear. The police also raided Iyad el-Hallak’s home in the Wadi Joz neighbourhood, where they interrogated his family who, in no uncertain terms, informed them that Iyad would never have been armed and that “he wasn’t capable of harming anyone”.
Jerusalem – the Israeli Occupation forced two people, Ahmed Mohammed Suleiman Mashahra, and his brother, Imad, to destroy their home – or otherwise be forced to pay an extortionate sum to the Israeli Occupation and still lose their home.
Ramallah – Israeli forces, near Kafr Malik village, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, wounded 15-year-old villager, Rasem Soliman Ghanimat Arrat , and then abducted him.
Gaza – the Israeli Army, accompanied by reconnaissance aircraft, made an incursion east of the al-Shuja’iya neighbourhood, bulldozing and laying waste to land.
Nablus – the Israeli Army fired stun grenades and tear gas canisters at people trying to defend their land, when settlers from the Givat Runin settlement outpost entered the outskirts of Burin village and attacked the house of Maher Salah al-Najjar. The settlers also set fire to farmland near the house.
Jericho – Israeli forces destroyed five homes and two livestock shelters in the Bedouin community of Deir Hajlat.
Hebron – Israeli Occupation forces destroyed a house in Beit Ummar that the owner, Ali Muhammad Al-Alami, had built to replace one on the same site that had been destroyed by the Israeli Army the year before.
Jerusalem – Israeli forces uprooted a number of fruit trees and destroyed a shed, in the Jabal al-Mukabir neighbourhood.
Nablus – the Israeli Army, firing rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and tear gas canisters, invaded the village of Asira, in support of Occupation settlers raiding local farmland.
Jerusalem – evening, an Israeli Occupation settler in the Old City, violently assaulted and hospitalised a 9-year-old girl, Maryam Yasser Nageib, as she played outside her home.
Israeli Army destroyed the Jerusalem home of a disabled mother and eight children. Dozens of soldiers, police and City Council personnel of the Jerusalem district of Ras al-Amoud surrounded the home of the Hijazi family after isolating both it and the entire area . The soldiers then forced out the family.
Permanent UN Security Council member admits Israel’s repetitive human rights violations
The UK, New Zealand’s Five Eyes partner, while a practising supporter of normal relations, including arms trading with Israel is forced, nevertheless, by the presence of so much evidence to admit that Israel routinely commits war crimes. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FO) responses to questions are revealing: “settlements are illegal under international law”, “We condemn any incidence of violence by settlers against Palestinians”. The FO could not deny the murder of a Palestinian man by Israeli forces – it simply noted that “this was a criminal matter which would be a matter for the Israeli Government.” On the shooting dead of an unarmed 15-year-old by Israeli forces, the FO response was: “We continue to stress the importance of the Israeli security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population, in particular the need to protect children, and urge restraint in the use of live fire.” Note that what the so-called ‘Israeli security forces’ are enforcing is a foreign military dictatorship over Palestinian lives. No Western political leader has ever acknowledged the right to security for Palestinians.
Israel imposes what it calls ‘closed firing zones for military training‘, in order to displace Palestinians and cut them off from their pastoral land. When asked about this, the FO replied: “we continue to be concerned by the impact of military firing zones in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, as well as the continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities and evictions of Palestinians from their homes”.
When the Israeli Occupation Military Order 1797 was raised at Question Time in the UK Parliament, the FO responded:“Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv have repeatedly raised our concerns about the increase in demolitions of Palestinian properties in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.” Asked about the Israeli Army’s blockading of Palestinian roads, the FO simply said: “We remain concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement within the West Bank, including to and from East Jerusalem, and between Gaza and the West Bank.”
Asked about the damage done by Israeli forces to mobile Palestinian latrines, the UK’s Foreign Ministry not only did not deny the Israeli crime but also expressed concern over the “continued demolition of Palestinian property by Israeli authorities” which, it admitted was, as it put it, “in all but the most exceptional of circumstances . . . contrary to International Humanitarian Law.” The FO Parliamentary answer went on to acknowledge Israel’s plunder of Palestinian water, saying “we have also previously stressed the need to take immediate and practical measures to ensure fair distribution of water in the West Bank.”
When asked what representations the UK Government had made to the Government of Israel about reports of the destruction of livestock pens and waterlines belonging to the al-Ras al-Ahmar and al-Baq’a Bedouin communities in the Northern Jordan Valley, the FO replied: “While we have not made representations on these reports, we urge both sides to avoid taking actions which make peace more difficult to achieve. In all but the most exceptional of circumstances demolitions are contrary to International Humanitarian Law. The practice causes unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians and is harmful to the peace process.”
Asked about the proposed Israeli annexation of the West Bank in Palestine, the reply was: “The UK position is clear: any unilateral moves towards annexation of parts of the West Bank by Israel would be damaging to efforts to restart peace negotiations and contrary to international law.”
When pressed, the British Government cannot deny Israel’s systemic violations of international humanitarian law, and yet it continues to cover for Israel. Its unjustifiable attempts to undermine the BDS movement have failed in British courts. Last year, it announced the intention to ban local councils from boycotting products from Israel, declaring that “Locally imposed boycotts can roll back integration as well as hinder Britain’s export trade and harm international relationship.”
The UK’s declaration of war against all efforts to bring the Zionist regime to account is morally and legally untenable. It reveal, furthermore, the deep-seated influence that the Zionist lobby holds in the highest levels of Western governments, particularly in the US and the UK. Is this influence the reason for the New Zealand Government’s silence since Security Council Resolution 2334? In a news media release, John Minto, National Chair of the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa (PSNA), commenting on our Government’s silence regarding the Israeli-US proposed annexations, wrote: “It seems the Prime Minister is happy to contract out foreign policy to New Zealand First and then wash her hands while the murder and mayhem of Israel’s daily cruelty towards Palestinians continues unchallenged.” He also made the point that international silence “means complicity with Israel’s criminal behaviour”.
The PSNA wrote to the Prime Minister on 10 June reminding her, among many other things, that: “Your silence will be welcomed by the Israeli leadership as it prepares to thumb its nose at international law but will be condemned by those who seek peace based on justice in the Middle East.” The letter concluded with the reminder that: “The time to speak out is now when pressure from New Zealand can have its greatest effect in concert with the international community. Making a whimper of protest after the deed is done would be a tragedy for New Zealand’s integrity and international standing. It would be a failure of moral leadership.”
EU court finding in BDS v French Government case
On 11 June, after a BDS call for a boycott of Israeli products sold in a supermarket in Alsace, the European Court of Justice ordered France to compensate BDS following a government indictment accusing the movement of incitement to discrimination. In its ruling, the court ruled that the French Government “had no sufficient basis for its indictment and was in violation of freedom of expression”, explaining that a boycott was not necessarily incitement to discrimination. The court ordered the French Government to pay each of the activists about US$8,000 in damages and awarded them their legal costs. This decision could set a precedent and should be yet another spur for us to unite against Zionist separatism.
End the silence
While the great powers and their hangers-on keep silent and quietly allow Israel to continue committing its crimes against humanity, they do so in contravention of court rulings and international law. Unable to deny the crimes that Israel commits, political leaders choose silence as a cover to appease the Zionist lobby. Enough! New Zealand must defend its right to independence before it is too late.