No answer, came the stern reply!

If Israeli newspapers, such as Haaretz, in their editorials and articles are able to recognise and criticise Israel’s racial discrimination laws and practice against the Palestinians, along with a report published by a leading Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, also warning that “a regime of Jewish supremacy” is being practised over Palestinians, why does the New Zealand Government still refuse to condemn Israel’s human rights abuses? Palestinians have a right (denied by Israel) to return to their homeland and to be free and equal in their own country. Another Israeli organisation, Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights), which works to protect the human rights of Palestinians living under Israeli armed forces’ Occupation, has published a legal opinion that “the crime against humanity of apartheid is being committed in the West Bank”.

On 31 January, an open letter was sent to Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, referring to a PSNA Press Release, urging our Government to pull out of a forthcoming on-line AgriTech seminar with the Israeli agriculture sector. The letter asked: “Where do you both stand on these crucial issues? Does your Government unequivocally support human rights and international law? Or does it place greater emphasis on trade and solidarity with our ‘traditional allies’?” No reply has yet been received to these important questions. Do the Ministers unequivocally support human rights and international law or do they support them only to a degree that does not harm business and other interests? The silence is chilling. Therefore, we offer the Ministers and the Government more evidence to help them decide the degree to which they are prepared to stand up for justice and humanity.

Inside Israel, the Zionist regime’s Citizenship Law Makes Israel an Apartheid State. Last April, in a telling article voicing Jewish critics of Zionism, Washington Report quoted Rabbi Brian Walt‘s appeal that: “We, the Jewish people, must tell the truth. We can no longer cover up the shocking systemic discrimination and oppression of the Palestinians by the State of Israel — a state that relies on our support and acts in our names and in the name of our tradition.” A former Israeli Education Minister and Israel Prize laureate, Shulamit Aloni, has reasoned that “It is well past time for ethical Jews to accept the inherent racist and anti-Jewish nature of Zionism, which has manipulated the Jewish religion to morally justify seventy years of settler colonialism, ethnic cleansing and apartheid of indigenous Palestinians.”

In a statement, last year, UN human rights experts warned of an “alarming” rise in Israeli settler violence towards Palestinians. “We are witnessing the highest recorded levels of violence in recent years and more severe incidents”, the statement said. According to UN figures, 370 settler attacks led to property damage in 2021, up from 274 the previous year. A further 126 assaults caused casualties, compared with 84 in 2020. At the same time, settlement building has tripled from the previous year, with the approval of the construction of 4,000 new units, according to Khalil al-Tafkaji, a Palestinian expert on settlement and director of the map unit at the Centre for Arab Studies in Jerusalem. This year is proving even worse.

Just one day of relentless Israeli military Occupation:

Daily reports of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian West Bank and East Jerusalem, along with the Israeli blockade of Gaza, are slow to emerge but, as an example, on 4 February (8am till 8am the following day), five different areas of Gaza farmland came under Israeli Army fire. In the West Bank, there were five Israeli Army raids during which Palestinian homes were invaded. Three of those raids took place during the night. One attack, on people protesting against the seizure of more Palestinian land for illegal settlement development, left 45 people wounded and caused 87 tear gas casualties.

The Israeli Army supported settlers during one agricultural sabotage raid and altogether that day Israeli settlers uprooted 90 Palestinian olive trees. The same morning, Israeli forces prevented Israeli and other international solidarity peace activists from planting olive trees on an area threatened with land-seizure. Militants, from the Brukhin Occupation settlement, invaded farmland in the Umm Hanun area of Bruqin and uprooted about 50 grapevine seedlings, while flooding the area with sewage from the settlement.

Cosying-up to Israel with profitable trade agreements and co-operation is just what the Zionist regime seeks in presenting itself as non-racist and honestly democratic. Isolating Israel is a necessary step towards bringing an end to 74 years of relentless, racist, military-Occupation domination.

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