Press Release – Palestine Human Rights Campaign NZ
A Shalom Kiwi Press Release celebrates the fact that the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld a complaint concerning TVNZ coverage of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. TVNZ was taken to task, it was claimed, for breaching the required standard of accuracy …Israel’s Gaza blockade is illegal and inhumane
Press Release: Palestine Human Rights Campaign
28 March 2017 www.palestine.org.nz
A Shalom Kiwi Press Release celebrates the fact that the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) upheld a complaint concerning TVNZ coverage of the Israeli blockade of Gaza. TVNZ was taken to task, it was claimed, for breaching the required standard of accuracy by stating that the blockade of Gaza is “illegal”. As justification for its upholding of the complaint, the BSA cited the Palmer report of September 2011. For some reason, the BSA ignored subsequent UN reports that disagree with the Palmer Report, which had itself ignored the earlier findings of a 2009 Fact-Finding Mission for the UN Human Rights Council. Four UN experts from the UN Human Rights Council had concluded that Israel’s blockade constituted collective punishment of the population of Gaza and was, therefore, unlawful. UN envoy Desmond Tutu, United Nations Human Rights Council head Navi Pillay, the International Committee of the Red Cross and most experts on international law also considered the blockade illegal.
Contradicting Palmer Report
Israel and its allies attacked the UN Human Rights Council report and did their best to discredit it but an independent panel of five UN experts reported to the UN Human Rights Council contradicting the Palmer Report and finding that Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip does in fact violate international law.
Almost daily, Israel violates the Gaza ceasefire agreement, opening fire on and sometimes hijacking Palestinian fishing boats. So far this year to 22 March, there have been over 100 such attacks, including three hijackings. In the same period there have been 9 Palestinian ceasefire violations, 3 of them against Israeli military targets. On top of the attacks on Gaza’s fishing fleet, the Israeli Army has carried out at least 190 onslaughts on the Gaza Strip, including incursions and the bulldozing of precious crops. So far this year, one person has been killed in Israeli military action against the Gaza population and 15 people have been wounded (including a five-year-old child). According to a 2015 Oxfam International report, it could take more than 100 years to rebuild Gaza at the current rate of reconstruction.
International law only permits naval blockades in the context of international armed conflict, a special legal category of conflict that imposes a framework of reciprocal rights and obligations. The asymmetrical oppression of Gaza, with its occasional acts of Palestinian armed resistance against Occupying forces cannot possibly qualify as war between two relatively equal states. Territories and populations under military Occupation are supposed to be protected by clear rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention: Occupying powers must treat the Occupied civilian population humanely, and protect the population from violence; Israel is obliged to guarantee that the population of Gaza is provided with adequate food and medical supplies. Bulldozing crops, shooting at farmers and attacking fishing boats are all gross violations of these provisions of international humanitarian law.
Shalom Kiwi describes its website as the place for “Kiwi perspectives on Israel and matters Jewish.” It might better be described as ‘Israel’s mouthpiece in New Zealand and matters Zionist’. Within Israel and around the world, Jewish and non-Jewish revulsion at Zionist human rights abuses expresses itself in many ways, including support for BDS. For instance, the website of B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, explains that it: “has championed human rights in the West Bank and Gaza Strip for over two decades, promoting a future where all Israelis and Palestinians will live in freedom and dignity”.
Driven by its Zionist founding ideology, Israel claims to speak and act in the name of all Jews. Any Jew who opposes Zionism (the range of Jewish viewpoints regarding Zionism is vast) is branded as ‘self-hating’ by Zionist extremists and although many secular and religiously observant Jews long ago rejected Israel’s propaganda, others continue to support it. Shalom Kiwi would do well to widen its perspective.