McCully fails to make independent stand for justice
New Zealand's Foreign Affairs Minister should know that the so-called Israel/Palestine 'peace process' has served as nothing but a cover for Israel to acquire more Palestinian territory.
In a press release, 'McCully welcomes US announcement on Middle East peace process', dated 20 July 2013, the New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs, Murray McCully, expresses support for “direct negotiations” as a means “to move the peace process forward”. But why would he promote a 'peace process' that, over the years, has served as nothing but a cover for Israel to acquire more Palestinian territory? “Direct negotiations” have so far left the Palestinian people with fragmented portions of their original homeland (a mere eight per cent); some commentators have described the remaining territory as an archipelago. Moreover, it goes against natural justice to demand that a defenceless, occupied population should negotiate its freedom with a super-power armed occupation that has nothing to gain by making concessions.
Why should anyone believe that Israel would deal fairly with the Palestinian people when Zionist ideology drives Israel's leaders to extreme acts of cruelty, even against their own citizens? The ethnic cleansing of Israel's Bedouin people, outlined in the Prawer-Begin plan, will forcibly remove nearly 40,000 Bedouin and destroy their society and way of life. Israel refuses to recognise 35 Bedouin villages in the Negev that house nearly 90,000 people. The Israeli state already denies them access to basic services and infrastructure, such as electricity and running water, and frequently demolishes their homes and other buildings. The Israeli Army even conducts regular military exercises around Bedouin communities, forcing families from their homes and subjecting them to the sound of gunfire and explosions. Both the United Nations’ Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and Amnesty International, among others, have criticised the plan as an affront to Bedouin human rights. Ann Harrison, Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, says: “What the proposed law does is send the Bedouin communities into a human rights desert by stripping already vulnerable citizens of legal safeguards . . . This blatantly violates international law.”
Israel's contempt for its unfortunate Bedouin citizens also applies to Palestinians living under belligerent Israeli military occupation. The Palestinian people are forced to live, hemmed in by checkpoints and threatened by racist settlers, in a nightmare existence that New Zealanders could scarcely imagine. If Mr McCully believes this to be an exaggeration then he should try living under those conditions himself. What sort of state uproots olive trees that people depend upon for their livelihood? What sort of state uses its military might to demolish homes, irrigation networks and wells? Israel continues to commit these ideologically-driven human rights abuses because the politicians that lead the most powerful and influential governments refuse to bring Israel to account for its actions. The same states that wilfully placed the Palestinian people in this situation also refuse to defend them.
Last century, the Geneva Conventions came into existence as a result of conflict generated by an ideology that defied humanity and would not be deterred. Today we have non-violent mechanisms designed to bring pressure on rogue states that refuse to reform. If governments could be persuaded to invoke international law and support the world-wide movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS), then Israel would be encouraged to stop its human rights violations. The grass-roots movement to bring Israel to account is already beginning to have a sobering effect and the Zionist state has cause to fear the possibility of arrests for war crimes. A Jewish Chronicle Online article reveals that Israeli Military Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, made a trip to London earlier this month that was given “special mission” status by UK Middle East Minister Alistair Burt in a move aimed at avoiding an attempt to arrest Gantz. A similar fear led to Israeli Opposition leader, Tzipi Livni, cancelling a planned visit in 2009. The principle of universal jurisdiction, as the Jewish Chronicle Online article says, allows UK courts to prosecute serious human rights violations, regardless of where they were committed.
Stand for justice
It would be nice to think that our country could be more independent and take a stand for justice, as it has against nuclear weapons. Instead, the New Zealand Government merely follows the direction set by Israel's powerful allies. UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said recently: “I pay tribute to the efforts of Secretary Kerry and his team and I commend the leadership shown by both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas.” Mr McCully said in his press release: "We place on record our strong support for Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas and the constructive and responsible leadership that has made today's announcement possible." Netanyahu, the Israeli leader so admired by McCully, has made it clear that he will not negotiate over Jerusalem. He says repeatedly that Jerusalem must remain Israel's indivisible and eternal capital. Regarding Israel's illegal settlements, Netanyahu has also said “we're here to stay” and that there will be no more settlement withdrawals.
The two-state illusion
Murray McCully and other politicians speak of the 'two-state solution' as a way to bring peace. But, as with the 'peace process', the meaning behind the words needs careful scrutiny. Israel has made it plain that, as far as it is concerned, any Palestinian state that might one day be permitted would be allowed no sovereignty over its airspace and would certainly have to remain defenceless. Indeed, Benjamin Netanyahu lays down other preconditions, declaring that the pre-1967 border is not up for consideration and asserting that the nature of any Palestinian state must be decided in the negotiations. In other words, Israel claims the right to determine the nature of any future Palestinian 'state'. Netanyahu is thus denying the Palestinian people, for all time, any semblance of sovereignty.
Netanyahu's arrogant approach concerning the proposed resumption of 'talks' is depressing: "Our negotiating partners will have to make concessions that enable us to preserve our security and crucial national interests." It is worth noting that neither Israel nor Western government spokesmen ever acknowledge the Palestinian need for security. The omission is striking and revealing. Netanyahu's two principal goals, we are told, are maintaining a Jewish majority in Israel and, in an insulting reference to the Palestinians, the avoidance of the creation of a “terrorist state” on its borders. The Zionist obsession is with maintaining supremacy for one ethnicity over all others. If any other politician or state were to espouse such policies they would rightly be reviled for their racism.
It is time to consider the one-state alternative future for Israel/Palestine. Even before the expansion of Israel into territory far outside the limits of the arbitrary UN Partition Plan, the geography, population distribution and natural resources of Palestine made partition unjust and untenable. A bi-national state that guaranteed equality for all its citizens would offer a practical way of dealing with these seemingly insurmountable difficulties. The Western democracies proclaim their support for the principals of racial equality and equal citizenship and they are quick to condemn (since the defeat of apartheid) those who are accused of racial and ethnic discrimination. The one exception to such condemnation is Israel. Those who have encouraged this special dispensation are complicit in the facilitating of decades of human suffering and injustice. They are responsible for policy that has also contributed in large measure to fearful and widespread instability.
Zionism in practise is cruel and inhuman and the daily suffering of the belligerently-occupied Palestinian people is undeniable witness to that horrible reality. It must be brought to an end now and international law provides the means. All that is required is the will.