A Letter to the Editor-Palestine

On November 26 2013, the UN General  Assembly   voted to proclaim 2014 the International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People was requested to organize relevant activities in cooperation with governments, the UN system, intergovernmental organizations, and significantly, civil society.  The seven countries who  opposed the proclamation were Israel,  United States, Canada, Australia,Micronesia, Palau, and the Marshall Islands. The vote was 110-7, with 56 abstentions.

I would ask  that  readers take some time to read the accounts of what has happened to Palestine and the Palestinian people since “ The Catastrophe”,  the” Nakba, when in 1948 Israeli  troops and gangs  brutally forced out hundreds of thousands of Palestinians  from the lands and houses they  had lived  in  for centuries, killing many in  the process .

This dispossession,  65 years later,  is ongoing;  each  day  more Palestinians are  uprooted from their homes, their houses and   orchards bulldozed and new “settlements  for Israeli Jews only built over the rubble. The brutality, intensity and magnitude of the occupation is for some reason, a matter for silence by Western governments. Perhaps sharing in the guilt of the Nazis in the Jewish genocide in  Europe, they turn  a blind eye to  the ghettoization of the Palestinian people.  The victim of violence has indeed become the perpetrator. In the West  Bank, the Israeli government  have walled the population in ,  has carefully calculated the minimal  calorific intake to  keep each  Palestinian alive, and has  over many years reduced West  Bank Palestinians lives to  subsistence level, reliant on  “illegal” tunnels supplying food from  Egypt, while health , water and sewage systems crumble. This systematic policy is designed to force Palestinians to abandon their homeland to allow more Israeli settlement. What is urgently needed is for our New Zealand government to finally stand up to Israel and their US supporters and say “enough is enough” and permit international law to prevail.  A separate Palestinian state is now no longer viable after 65 years. What is required therefore is, in the spirit of peace and reconciliation, a process of restoration of justice.  Modelled on the Treaty of Waitangi  process and the South African  Peace and Reconciliation process,  a  unity government of all  religions and politics across Israel  and  the rump  of Palestine  needs to be set  up. This government would oversee the return of the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who  have been  dispossessed  over the past 65 years , the release from jail  of the many thousands of  Palestinian  political prisoners (men  women and children) , and the full  compensation or return of lands lost since the occcupation.

Nelson Mandelas’ vision of reconciliation and hope for the future can result in an   Israel/Palestine state that brings a message of hope to the Middle East. The alternative is not worth imagining..



2014: International Year of Solidarity with the Palestinian People: Richard Falk

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