GUEST BLOG: Janfrie Wakim – The War Crimes perpetrated against the Palestinian people demands our attention


“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less “said Marie Curie the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two scientific fields ( physics and chemistry).  These days accessing sound information in mainstream media that might enable understanding, especially on contentious issues, is challenging. Opinions dominate; the more fear-inducing the headline, the more attention is diverted, and the fewer the opportunities to understand.

Such is the fate of current horrifying events in Palestine. Thirty years ago, Nelson Mandela who championed the downfall of apartheid stated that ‘Palestine was the greatest moral issue of our time’.  The mainstream media has ignored his insight  to our detriment.

We are fed sound bites, graphic images, politicians’ threats and counter threats, civilian slaughters, desperation, destruction and heroic reports of humanitarian efforts. No maps. No demographics, just fragments of history and rare, if ever, explanations of terms like Nakba, Zionism.    No mention of the deceit of imperial powers after both World War 1 and 2. For 75 years Palestinians have not lived free in their own country. Their 3000-year history in the land has been buried by other interests that have dominated the news. 

Zionism (largely a secular movement, founded) emerged in response to horrifying European anti-Semitism. It envisaged a land where Jews might live without persecution. After the First World War which resulted in the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire the newly-created League of Nations granted Britian and France colonial authority (mandates) over former Ottoman territories. But Palestine never achieved the level of independence evidenced in Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

Indeed, Britain in collusion with European Zionists and for its own imperial interests (including preventing Jewish immigration to England), established a Jewish state on Palestinian land. In the 28-article institutional framework devised there was not a single reference to the Palestinians as a people with national or political rights.

Mass Jewish immigration to Palestine occurred during the British Mandate years (1922-1948 enhanced by the horrendous racist policies of Nazi Germany.  As the designs of the Zionists for an ethno-nationalist state grew, massacres of Palestinians by Zionist militia began, Haifa in 1937 and Jerusalem the same year. Resistance by the indigenous Palestinians increased accordingly until Britain, unable to manage the conflict, ended their mandate on 14 May 1948.  

 Israel proclaimed its ‘independence’ and began implementing its ‘Plan Dalet’ to destroy Palestinian towns and villages – 450 at least. The Nakba commemorated each May 15th saw 780,000 of the approximately 1 million Palestinians violently expelled from their ancestral lands. They, and their progeny live today in refugee camps mostly in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and of course, Gaza, West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The genocide unfolding today is the culmination of over a century of European imperialism, European anti-Semitism and its response – Zionism with unconditional support of Israel by successive USA administrations. 

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 Since 1948 influential pro-Israel lobby groups have spent millions to promulgate the falsehood that Palestine was a haven for people without a land. That it was already populated was never acknowledged with critics silenced as antisemitic. Playing on guilt over the horrors of the Holocaust has been very effective until now when the world is witnessing unbelievable barbarity by Israel a nuclear-powered state seemingly intent on obliterating an entrapped and largely defenceless people.  

What might it take for the realities of the injustices perpetrated on Palestinians by Israel with the support or connivance of Western powers to be covered in the depth it deserves?  Not everyone has time to search out books or find well-researched articles and documentaries on the internet.  We need backgrounders, maps and debates in our daily mainstream news.  

There is hope in the next generation. For example, ten years ago two young students from Otorohanga College, aware that they were not informed about local history, garnered the support of 12,000 petitioners to get government recognition of significance of the New Zealand Wars and the way they reshaped us. The first Raa Maumahara National Day of Commemoration for the wars, occurred in 2017 and will be marked every year on October 28 and is now part of our schools’ curriculum.  

Perhaps Nelson Mandela’s moral issue will be addressed by actions of the younger generation thoughtfully inquisitive, digging below the superficial layers of the newsfeed and initiating change that even governments might heed.  


Janfrie Wakim

I have been involved with the Palestinian struggle since 1982 when Israel invaded Lebanon and worked with the Palestine Human rights Campaign now subsumed into the Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa.

However, I would describe myself as a human rights activist having been involved in a number of issues social justice. I was co-founder of the Child Poverty Action Group in 1994.   (Mother of 4 children and 11 moko …)


    • It was Hendrik Verwoerd, one of the architects of apartheid, who first called Israel an apartheid state. He did so with approbation of course, believing that Israel and South Africa stood together and alone in the world by standing against systems of racial integration. For many years the military forces of these two pariah states cooperated closely, even up to joint efforts in the production of nuclear weapons.

  1. If ‘israel’ didn’t actually exist as an actual terrorist group, its unsurpassed record of crimes would be one of the funniest jokes in history.

    My favourite aspect of ‘israel’s history is how, after apartheid South Africa voted in the UN to establish this fake state, they immediately set about enacting every single medieval anti-semitic stereotype in the most brutal and evil manner possible. They even- as one of their first actions- literally poisoned Palestinian wells with biological weapons in Operation Cast the Bread. They continue to poison Palestinian water supplies to this day, and ‘israeli’ military and political figures have been openly celebrating their success in destroying and disabling the water treatment facilities in Gaza to spread disease.

  2. Unfortunately, there is no time to wait for the next generation to try and right the wrongs of today/yesterday. This is a blight on human history and a blight on humanity today, that this both exists and that it is not getting the attention it deserves. This speaks to the utter corruption of, at the very least, the world we live in today. Politics shapes societies, media, informs societies and yet we have this, and yet we have this.

    The world is rotten and unless we push back against the drivers of this rottenness – the captured political and media worlds – then this rot will spread to us all.

    Start by saying no to war. We need anti-war…peace marches/protests on top of, or in conjunction with Palestinian protests. Pressure our pollies to change direction, this is an easy and achievable first step to make.

    So no to war!

  3. At risk of getting this completely wrong, why do we continue to talk about “anti semitism” as somehow being exclusively a Jewish or Israeli ‘thing’. Aren’t the Palestinians semites? Hasn’t the true meaning of the word(s) become bastardised for convenience?

    In fact in terms of connection to the land and that region I would imagine shitloads of those Israeli settlers are about as Semitic as I am (ie not). I think I’ll just convert and go and grab some land. Seems easy enough.

  4. Actually, despite the best efforts of the New Zealand media I believe that there is a reasonably good level of public understanding of the history of Palestine and of the current situation in Gaza. The problem is knowing what to do about it. PSNA and others seem to assume that the New Zealand government is ignorant about the history and nature of the conflict, and that all we need to do is educate them to change their policy. That is naive. New Zealand is a colonialist state, beholden to the United Kingdom which is historically responsible for the formation of the State of Israel and the widespread political chaos in the Middle East. (Which is not to absolve the Arab states for their own responsibility for the manifold failures of oppressive, corrupt governments which have so tragically failed the Palestinian people, and all the Arab peoples). Furthermore, New Zealand has always unconscionably taken the side of Israel, Britain and the United States in the many conflicts in that region. From the invasion of Palestine and the Surafend massacre, through support for Britain, France and Israel in their 1956 invasion of Egypt to the present situation where New Zealand is once more at war with the Arab peoples on the side of Israel, New Zealand has always been a partner of imperialism and colonialism. Not just in the Middle East of course. Aside from the brutal colonisation and dispossession of its own tangata whenua, the New Zealand state perpetrated the Mau massacre in Samoa, supported the apartheid regime in South Africa, joined Britain in suppressing a movement of national liberation in Malaya, provided military support to the French colonial rule in Vietnam, joined the United States in its genocidal war against the people of Vietnam, and then assisted in the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. From Surafend to Afghanistan the New Zealand military has been noted for its disregard for the rules of war and the shameless slaughter of non-combatant civilians. It is naive to imagine that such an evil regime can be brought to change its ways by reasoned argument. It must be vanquished. To that end, we need to take a stand for rangatiratanga and the sovereignty of te whakaminenga in Aotearoa, and we will need to go well beyond marching in the streets, waving flags and shouting slogans.

    • Gosh Geoff, I seem to recall from my young days stories of the men in my family sailing off to far distant lands to halt the spread of something called fascism. Some were butchered in South East Asia, some from the Australian branch of my family perished building the Burma-Thailand railway, others are buried in France, Italy and Belgium. Many returned home without limbs and horribly disfigured, others suffered a lifetime mental torture of depression or PTSD, alleviated by alcohol. All because they fought for freedom from tyranny How lucky are you that you never had to listen to similar stories or support those afflicted by a war not of their making. Any comment on the Islamic conquest of the Holy Land, Buddhist Afghanistan, Hindu India, Christian Anatolia, North Africa and the Levant, Zoroastrian Persia or the Catholic and Orthodox Balkans?

      • Kia ora Ann
        Those who fought under the New Zealand flag may have believed that they were fighting for democracy but the undeniable fact is that New Zealand entered the war in support of the British Empire. “Where she goes, we go. Where she stands we stand” was the sole reason that Prime Minister M J Savage gave for New Zealand’s entry into the conflict. A few New Zealanders went to fight fascism in the Spanish civil war, without receiving support or encouragement from the government – in fact quite the opposite. Since World War II the Realm of New Zealand has supported fascist governments around the globe, including the Vietnamese regime of Nguyen Cao Ky who declared “Hitler is my hero”. It is now supporting the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.
        Will I comment on every war fought throughout the history of the human race, as you challenge me to do? Certainly not here, but in general I would say that every war is avoidable by one side or the other, if not both.

        • And if we hadn’t entered that war you would not be living the life of comparative freedom you do now. But never mind, you can bleat on about NZ support of fascist governments around the world. Just make sure you included Turkey, the illegal occupier of northern Cyprus, Saudi Arabia and Iran whose apartheid govts deny their population religious freedom, the Democratic (ha) Republic of Korea, et al. Oh, and Palestine where the fascist patriarchy restricts women’s freedoms and glorifies Adolf.

          • Our ancestors fought for our freedom at Ruapeka, Orakau, Pukehinahina, Parihaka and all across the motu. We continue in that struggle – “Ka whawhai matou tonu matou ake ake ake”. What happened or happens in other parts of the world far from our shores has nothing to do with the freedom of our people in Aotearoa.

      • Well aren’t you naive Anne. The terrible price your broader family paid doesn’t mean the decision makers got it right.

  5. Israel commits NO war crimes even in an extremely complex battleground. Hamas commits DOUBLE war crimes: attacking innocent Israeli civilians while using their own as human shields. Theyr’e worse than the Nazis because they boast about their crimes as on 7/10 and are sworn to repeating them. Their days are numbered. Gaza will return to Israeli control.

      • As long as Israel keeps killing shit loads of women and children it’s pretty clear they have no future. How can you not see that?

        • Israel’s civilian to terrorist casualty rate is 1.5 to 1, the lowest in the world. If you don’t want your civilians harmed, why start a war you can’t win and embed yourselves amongst those civilians (who put you in power in the first place) to maximise outrage against the enemy from twits like you, Wheel? Why can’t you see that?

          • So 40% of those killed or wounded are “terrorists”. With the number of casualties standing at 85,000, that means that as far as Israel is concerned there were at least 34,000 “terrorists” in Gaza, and counting. Since only 30% of those killed or injured in Israeli attacks were adult males, it also means that at least 8500 of these supposed “terrorists” were women or children. All that this shows is that the State of Israel has defined an entire people as terrorists who it is determined to exterminate. Out of its own mouth, the State of Israel has revealed itself as a satanic regime.

    • The claim that Hamas uses human shields is frankly ludicrous.
      We all know that a human body is no protection against artillery shells or aerial munitions. Therefore, what do they mean when they say that people are being used as “human shields”?
      Quite simply, the human shield tactic is based on the understanding that if the baddies put innocent people between themselves and those who are seeking to apprehend or punish them, the forces of good will not fire at the risk of taking innocent lives.
      But if the “forces of good” show that they will not hesitate to take innocent lives then “human shields” become totally ineffective. Hamas cannot be using civilians as human shields because they know as well as we do that the IDF will drop their bombs and fire their artillery shells regardless of whether innocent civilians are in the way.
      So let us be clear. Hamas is not using human shields because it cannot. Not against the IDF or the USA. Human shields might work against the military forces of civilized states, but then civilized states would not be trying to do what the the State of Israel and the United States of America are trying to do to the people of Palestine. Civilized states do not embark on long remorseless campaigns of genocide.

    • Gaby only starts caring when the bodies are jewish.

      Israel is a tragic racist violent settler colonial mistake. Zionism’s vile genocidal mission has exposed itself to 21st C scrutiny: they are fanatical jihadis wanting none of the people, all of the land.
      Time to admit what Israel is. abandon zionism, ask for forgiveness. then there will be peace.

    • Ann, if you want to fault my logic, then do so. Do not just repeat the allegation. The question you have to answer is “Does this ‘human shield’ allegation make any kind of sense?”

    • Plenty of Israeli words claiming Hamas uses human shields.
      Plenty of photos showing israeli stormtroopers holding children as human shields.

      You have to invert everything the Zionists say to find the truth. They have diseaeed their own minds and souls. THeir only salvation is in shutting down the occupation and asking for forgiveness.

  6. Plenty of Israeli words claiming Hamas uses human shields.
    Plenty of photos showing israeli stormtroopers holding children as human shields.

    You have to invert everything the Zionists say to find the truth. They have diseaeed their own minds and souls. THeir only salvation is in shutting down the occupation and asking for forgiveness.

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