It’s over five weeks since the October 7th attack on Israel and the launch of Israel’s genocidal rampage against the Palestinian people of Gaza. But while our political leaders have been vocal in condemning war crimes that led to the killing of Israeli civilians they have not yet breathed a single word of condemnation of Israel for the wholesale slaughter of Palestinians civilians, including over 4,600 Palestinian children.
Israel has now slaughtered the equivalent of all the children in 17 average-sized New Zealand primary schools. According to Save the Children this surpasses the number of children killed in conflict zones around the world each year since 2019.
And for all the talk of going after Hamas, Israel Defence Force spokesperson Rear Adm Daniel Hagari says in relation to the bombing of Gaza “The emphasis is on damage and not on accuracy”.
But, unbelievably, outgoing PM Chris Hipkins and incoming PM Chrisopher Luxon have been deathly silent on this depraved criminal behaviour against Palestinian civilians and the whole range of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people which include:
- Collective punishment of an occupied people
- Failure to treat Palestinians civilians as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Convention
- Depriving 2.2 million Palestinians of food, water, fuel, electricity, medical supplies etc
- Bombing and attacking schools, hospitals, ambulances and civilian infrastructure such as water treatment plants, sewage treatment plants etc
- Bombing densely populated residential areas murdering Palestinians in their thousands (According to the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tonnes of explosives on the Gaza Strip since October 7, equivalent to two nuclear bombs)
- Ethnic cleansing through forcible movement of civilian populations in Gaza
- Ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from towns and rural communities in the Occupied West Bank by heavily armed Israeli militias, supported by the Israeli army – casually killing any Palestinians that get in their way
- Expanding illegal Israeli settlements on Palestinian land
- Applying apartheid laws against all Palestinians across the entire area of historic Palestine
- Continuing its illegal military occupation of Palestine
These are all war crimes and some, such as genocide and apartheid, are crimes against humanity.
If Russia were doing anything like this in Ukraine or a European community anywhere in the world suffered as Palestinians are suffering now our political leaders would condemn the outrages and apply immediate sanctions and accountabilities as we have done for Russia in Ukraine. Such barbarism as is being displayed by Israel today would be condemned as depraved, racist and genocidal.
But our political leaders are weak and spineless. The best they can do is repeat calls for a “humanitarian pause” (a “tea-break” in Israel’s murderous rampage) and have called on both sides to “protect human lives” – a meaningless piece of drivel in response to genocide happening before our eyes.
Luxon lamely says “we haven’t received any advice to suggest Israel is breaking international law”. Open your eyes Mr Luxon.
Refusal to condemn Israel’s political leaders for their murderous war crimes means Israel’s cowardly attacks on Palestinian civilians will continue. Israel knows its genocidal attacks come at no political cost where New Zealand is concerned. Israel knows that anti-Palestinian racism is alive and well in New Zealand’s political leadership.
Our political leaders have made New Zealand complicit in Israel’s genocide against Palestinians.
I’m proud that Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa has joined with hundreds of other organisations in backing a complaint of genocide by Israel to the International Criminal Court.
Join your local rallies and marches taking place across the country this weekend. Citizens must step up where governments have failed.