Where is the justice?

Murray McCully should explain his preference for what he calls 'dialogue' over law enforcement. He claims that NZ's approach to Israel and the Palestinians is “even-handed” so why not grant Palestinian students visa-free access?

A young student in Gaza who has passed the local GCE equivalent exams has written to the Palestine Human Rights Campaign, saying he would like to come to New Zealand to study (in particular, the English language) and is also willing to work to pay for his food and keep. He says his financial circumstance are "a bit difficult". He is asking if New Zealand grants visas for Palestinian students.

Of course, were this young man an Israeli, there would be no problem – he would be able to enter New Zealand visa-free. In this regard, NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully justifies the rewarding of Israel with special consideration, both economically and diplomatically, as being in the interests of what he calls 'dialogue'. And how does Israel respond to dialogue and reward? A new B’Tselem report (Arrested Development 5 November 2012) examines the long-term impact on the Palestinian communities upon whose stolen land Israel's annexation Wall continues to march. Palestinians in nearby communities have lost the ability to make profitable use of their land (their major remaining resource) and with the Wall nearly two-thirds complete, the agricultural economy of the West Bank has shrunk drastically.

As for Gaza, the territory in which our would-be student visitor finds himself confined, Noam Chomsky, writing on November 4 Impressions of Gaza, found his visit there a taste of “what it must be like to try to survive in the world’s largest open-air prison, where a million and a half people, in the most densely populated area of the world, are constantly subject to random and often savage terror and arbitrary punishment, with no purpose other than to humiliate and degrade, and with the further goal of ensuring that Palestinian hopes for a decent future will be crushed and that the overwhelming global support for a diplomatic settlement that will grant these rights will be nullified.” http://chomsky.info/articles/20121104.htm Among the acts of arbitrary punishment to which Chomsky refers is the Israeli Navy's continued use of deadly force to impose an over-fished, three-nautical-mile limit on the Gaza fishing industry.

Murray McCully should explain his preference for dialogue over law enforcement to the mother of the fisherman shot dead by the Israeli Navy. “All my hope in life is lost," she says. "In the past, we were a bit hopeful that everything would be okay but now we know that nothing is ever going to change.” Mr McCully continues to claim that New Zealand's approach to Israel and the Palestinians is “even-handed”. Does New Zealand grant Palestinian students visa-free access? No it does not.

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