Friday, February 16, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 16/2/24

Luxon is one of three prime ministers pressing for a ceasefire in Gaza – but the two-state solution they push looks fanciful

Two days after hundreds of people rallied outside the New Zealand parliament and the US embassy in Wellington to protest against what they maintain is genocide in Gaza, Prime Minister Chris Luxon joined with the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada to express their concerns that Israel seems to be planning a ground offensive into Rafah.

The prime ministers called for:
  • An immediate humanitarian ceasefire;
  • The release of hostages;
  • The provision of rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian relief to civilians.
The statement notes that the International Court of Justice has been clear: Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian assistance and must protect civilians.

This was the most significant of the latest batch of media statements posted on the government’s official website.

It is vying for media attention alongside news that Regional Development Minister Shane Jones would be attending the official opening of two tourism projects on the West Coast; appointments have been made to the Ministerial Advisory Group charged with providing “independent advice and assurance” on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service; and Health Minister Shane Reti has announced the Government will deliver on its promise to extend “free” breast screening to women aged 70-74.

Here’s hoping Reti delivers the promise with greater alacrity than he posted the news on the Beehive website.

Latest from the Beehive

16 FEBRUARY 2024

Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will attend the official opening of two highly anticipated tourism projects on the West Coast today – Pike29 Memorial Track, dedicated to the memory of the Pike River miners, and Pounamu Pathway.

15 FEBRUARY 2024

Appointments to the Ministerial Advisory Group tasked with providing independent advice and assurance on the future of KiwiRail’s inter-island ferry service have been made.

The Prime Ministers of Australia, Canada and New Zealand today issued the following statement on reports of Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah.

15 FEBRUARY 2024

The coalition Government has made the first steps in delivering on its promise to extend free breast screening to women aged 70-74, Health Minister Shane Reti says.

The statement from the Prime Ministers of New Zealand, Australia and Canada says they are “gravely concerned” by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.

A military operation into Rafah would be catastrophic, they say.

About 1.5 million Palestinians are taking refuge in the area, including many of their citizens and their families.

With the humanitarian situation in Gaza already dire, the impacts on Palestinian civilians from an expanded military operation would be devastating. We urge the Israeli government not to go down this path. There is simply nowhere else for civilians to go.

There is growing international consensus. Israel must listen to its friends and it must listen to the international community. The protection of civilians is paramount and a requirement under international humanitarian law. Palestinian civilians cannot be made to pay the price of defeating Hamas.

An immediate humanitarian ceasefire is urgently needed. Hostages must be released. The need for humanitarian assistance in Gaza has never been greater. Rapid, safe and unimpeded humanitarian relief must be provided to civilians. The International Court of Justice has been clear: Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian assistance and must protect civilians. The Court’s decisions on provisional measures are binding.

The prime ministers say a sustainable ceasefire is necessary to finding a path towards securing lasting peace for Israelis and Palestinians.

Any ceasefire cannot be one sided. Hamas must lay down its arms and release all hostages immediately. We again unequivocally condemn Hamas for its terror attacks on Israel on October 7.

Ultimately, a negotiated political solution is needed to achieve lasting peace and security.

Australia, Canada, and New Zealand remain steadfast in their commitment to a two-state solution, including the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, “where Palestinians and Israelis live side by side in peace, security, and dignity”

Good luck with that.

Jerry A. Coyne, Emeritus Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, today has challenged the champions of this approach in an article headed The myth of the two-state solution.

The only people seriously suggesting that the Israel/Hamas war can be peaceably resolved by the existence of two states—Israel and a new Palestinian state— are so desperate for a solution that they’ll suggest one that’s completely impractical. (I would say “dumb”, but I’m trying to be kind here.)

But Israel is out for victory this time, and won’t let the U.S., or anyone else, impose a cease-fire—which is the same thing as asking Israel to surrender.

Coyne says he used to favour the two-state solution, but he realises now that it simply won’t work.

For starters (he contends), almost no Israeli would countenance it.

Such a state would presumably include Gaza, not ruled by Hamas, and the entire West Bank, from which rockets and terror attacks could easily be launched over most of Israel. Nobody has suggested a credible leadership for such a state, but it can’t be either Hamas or the corrupt and terror-promoting Palestinian authority. Nor would Netanyahu, who, though despised, is not stupid, accept this solution.

And the Palestinians don’t want this solution, either. What they want is the elimination of Israel, which could occur by the totally off-the-table “one-state” solution.

The Palestinians have, time after time, rejected the offer of their own state. Now it is too late.

If such a state is ever to arise, it will, I think, take at least two generations—the time it takes for Palestinian children to stop learning in school to kill Jews and become martyrs

A report of the Wellington protest for the World Socialist website suggests the Prime Ministers’ statement won’t be welcomed by leftist supporters of Palestine.

For 18 consecutive weeks, thousands of people have joined the global protest movement against Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people in Gaza. The events have taken on a more pronounced anti-government character, following the decision by New Zealand’s National Party-led coalition to stop funding for the UNRWA aid agency, and to join the US-led bombing of Yemen in supposed retaliation for the Yemeni Houthis’ attacks on Israeli shipping in the Red Sea.

World Socialist reporter Tom Peters (presumably no relative of our Deputy Prime Minister) goes on to say:

In a thoroughly hypocritical statement on Wednesday, New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters, who leads the right-wing nationalist NZ First Party, said the government was “extremely concerned by indications that Israel is planning a ground offensive into Rafah.”

He urged Israel not to do so, and to abide by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that Israel must take steps “to comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention.”

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson and Te Pāti Māori’s Debbie Ngarewa-Packer spoke outside parliament on Tuesday, calling for the closure of the Israeli embassy and sanctions against Israel, and for the government to demand a permanent ceasefire.

But Tom Peters notes that both parties are allied with the Labour Party and were prepared to enter a coalition with Labour, had it received enough votes in last October’s election:

Labour is now cynically calling for a ceasefire and for the government to back the ICJ case against Israel. However, Labour remained the caretaker government until late November, during which time it studiously avoided condemnation of Israel.

Over the past six years, the Labour government strengthened New Zealand’s military and intelligence alliance with US imperialism, the main backer of the Zionist state. It also sent troops to Europe to assist in training Ukrainian conscripts for NATO’s proxy war against Russia; and maintained New Zealand’s troop presence in Bahrain, embedded with US forces.

With regard to Labour foreign affairs spokesman David Parker attempting to address Tuesday’s rally, Tom Peters writes:

After feigning sympathy with the protests and the Palestinian people, he was drowned out by boos when he declared Israel had the “right to defend itself.” Labour MP Phil Twyford was similarly shouted down at an Auckland rally in November, with chants of “shame on Labour!”

Tom Peters says the New Zealand political establishment is clearly shaken by the ongoing protests, and the media is seeking to delegitimise them.

He claims that TVNZ interviewer Jack Tame early this week tried to smear Green MP Chloe Swarbrick as antisemitic for joining in the chant, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Tame declared that “many Jewish people consider that to be a hateful and inflammatory phrase.” In fact, large numbers of Jewish people, throughout the world, have joined the anti-genocide protests, in many cases playing a leading role.

Meanwhile, the police presence at protests across New Zealand is becoming larger. Last week, police officers violently attacked a small protest outside the Port of Lyttelton near Christchurch against ZIM, the Israeli shipping company that has pledged to use all its resources to support the Israeli military.

A video of the incident has been widely shared on social media.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Luxon needs to manage the two state issue in NZ. Remind me - what did his electorate want?