Negotiations masquerade: a gift of stolen Palestinian land to Israel

Palestine Human Rights Campaign (www.palestine.org.nz) Open Letter to New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully:
10 June 2013

Dear John Key and Murray McCully,
On 6 June 2013 the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Minister, William Hague, told the House of Commons: "There is a long and proud history of this House asserting itself on the errors that have been made during our imperial rule of other countries, and our recognition of these errors today is part of that long tradition." Hague was referring to the Mau Mau uprising against British colonial rule in Kenya in the 1950s. He recalled that “prohibited areas were created; and provisions for detention without trial were enacted” and the Secretary of State acknowledged that many of those detained were never tried.
(http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2013-06-06a.1692.0&s=education)

British power political manoeuvring in the Middle East produced the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the results of which can be seen in the present plight of the Palestinian people who for decades have also suffered under such injustices as “prohibited areas” and “detention without trial” at the hands of a colonising power. The lack of freedom of movement is the frustrating and humiliating background to daily life for the Occupied Palestinian people, whose suffering includes a variety of human rights abuses, from night home invasions to wanton acts of agricultural and economic sabotage, such as the destruction of millions of Palestinian olive trees by both the Israeli Army and Occupation settlers.

In his speech, William Hague said that: “The British Government recognise that Kenyans were subject to torture and other forms of ill treatment at the hands of the colonial administration.” He also reminded us that, “torture and ill treatment are abhorrent violations of human dignity, which we unreservedly condemn.”

Palestinian child prisoners

Israeli soldiers frequently terrorise Palestinian youngsters with threats and/or by blindfolding them and tying their wrists behind their backs. Many Palestinian children are illegally taken to prison in Israel, where more terror is practised against them, such as solitary confinement and shackling in painful positions for long periods. June 26, 2012 saw the publication of an independent legal report into Israel's treatment of Palestinian child prisoners. The report was funded by the UK Foreign Office and followed a trip to Palestine and Israel by a team of high-ranking UK lawyers from the fields of human rights, crime and child welfare. The team travelled to Israel and Palestinian land under Israeli Occupation to assess the treatment of Palestinian children under Israeli military law. The report (http://www.childreninmilitarycustody.org/report/), found Israel in breach of international law and human rights treaties and made 40 recommendations.

Israel triumphant: “we can do whatever we want.”

According to Israel's Deputy Defence Minister, Danny Danon, quoted in an article in The Times of Israel, 6 June 2013, (http://www.timesofisrael.com/deputy-defense-minister-this-government-will-block-any-peace-deal/): “The international community can say whatever they want, and we can do whatever we want.” He also warned that: “This government will block any two-state deal.” The article goes on to quote Danon saying that, “With the Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home parties opposed to a Palestinian state, efforts at negotiations are futile.” The Deputy Defence Minister gave the game away when he said, “Netanyahu calls for peace talks despite his government’s opposition because he knows Israel will not arrive at an agreement with the Palestinians in the near future.”

The so-called negotiations process has achieved nothing other than to buy time for Israel to gain more and more of its defenceless victims' land. In addition to the 56% of Palestine allotted to Israel by the UN Partition Plan, the Zionist state has effectively gained a further 36%. Palestinians now struggle to survive on just 8% of their homeland (http://www.middleeastmonitor.com/news/middle-east/6132-data-shows-that-palestinians-now-own-just-8-per-cent-of-historic-palestine). When will Britain and its allies condemn the cruelties and discrimination manifest in Israel's belligerent occupation and continuing annexations of Palestinian land? Are not Israel's “torture and ill treatment” “abhorrent”? Are they not “violations of human dignity,” deserving of unreserved condemnation? Israel's blockade and occupation of the Palestinian people's land is destabilising and a major threat to global peace and security.

Imagine the terror and despair when Palestinian families see their homes obliterated by huge Israeli bulldozers. Please watch this four-minute trailer for a film about Gaza (http://whereshouldthebirdsfly.org/) and if it moves your conscience then please speak and act on it, for the sake of humanity. When other nations are seen to violate international humanitarian law, New Zealand often joins with its allies in calling for sanctions against the offending state. The majority of grass-roots world opinion (not least Israel's Palestinian victims) according to the BBC World Service’s latest global survey (http://www.globescan.com/commentary-and-analysis/press-releases/press-releases-2013/277-views-of-china-and-india-slide-while-uks-ratings-climb.html) would certainly welcome a courageous stand by the New Zealand Government in calling for sanctions against Israel until it stops violating the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

After viewing this short video, members of the New Zealand Parliament might care to voice their condemnations of Israel's “abhorrent violations of human dignity.” BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions: http://www.bdsmovement.net/) is an increasingly effective, popular, non-violent movement for the restoration of justice in Israel/Palestine that deserves the support of all who care about human rights and the rule of law.

Yours sincerely,

Leslie Bravery,
Palestine Human Rights Campaign, Auckland.

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