I’m all in favour of peace for land, and Israel going back to its 1967 borders. But it would be suicide for Israel to agree to a full right of return – this would turn Israel into an Arab majority state – either initially or over time.
The Herald says:
Change may require something as drastic as reconsideration of Israel’s need of a Jewish majority, the reason for its resistance to a full Palestinian right of return. Israel fears for its religious character if it ever makes that concession but Judaism was freely practised in the Islamic empire that preceded today’s warring states.
I’m not sure if this is stupidity or naiveity of the worst kind. The world has changed, in case the Herald editorial writer has missed it. And after the Holocaust, persuading Jews that they should give up majority control of a country to become a minority again is well near suicidal.
The so called right to return is a play to destroy Israel from within. There may be a case for compensation as part of a peace settlement, but a full right to return (which the Wikipedia article shows is both hypocritical and unheard of in international law) is just nonsense – especially when you consider this would be giving a right of return to thousands of terrorists whose only aim in life is to destroy Israel.
On a similiar issue Fran O’Sullivan notes a different tone from the NZ Government:
Just simply a few bland words by McCully to newswire agencies lamenting the Gaza strip onslaught and endorsing the United Nations’ call for an immediate ceasefire. Notably, his words were devoid of the usual harsh condemnatory judgments against Israel that had become a trademark of the Clark Government.
Good. While Israel is far from without blame, the one sided condemnation of Israel only was tiring. Fran then notes:
National’s fellow travellers have already complained of bigotry after a Herald “letter to the editor” writer made the linkage between Key’s Jewishness and the Government’s new stance.
It is a nonsense to allege bigotry in this instance.
In a multitude of post-election articles in Israeli and Jewish newspapers elsewhere, there had been a clear expectation that the advent of the Key Government would lead to a more “balanced” relationship between Israel and New Zealand.
The Jewish community has publicly singled out several National Cabinet ministers who are “friendly to Israel”: Key himself, McCully, Tim Groser, Jonathan Coleman, Wayne Mapp and Attorney-General Chris Finlayson.
I stand by the bigotry claim. As Fran notes there are many Ministers “friendly to Israel”.Are they all Jews? No, of course not (and neither is Key in terms of religion). Centre-right Governments tend to be less willing to bash Israel than centre-left ones – and that would have been the case I suggest, regardless of if Key was PM or not.
NZ peace groups are now calling for a boycott against Israel and the Palestinian Human Rights campaign has sent an open letter to Key and McCully calling on them to “declare your positions of principle regarding Israel’s military occupation of Palestinian land”.
So far, there has been no official response.
I imagine the response would be that NZ’s position remains that it wants a peace settlement that involves land for peace.
The traditional Christmas/New Year holiday period is an easy excuse. But British PM Gordon Brown is not asleep on this issue, neither is Australian Acting PM Julia Gillard who has pledged an extra A$5 million ($6 million) aid to help Palestinians get access to food and medical supplies.
New Zealand has been urged to follow suit – but so far nothing has eventuated…
This is not a good look – but one which is quickly remedied.
Fran may have a point here, but of course Australia is far more globaly focused with its ad than NZ. We have a Pacific focus. But on the assumption there is an appropriate budget available, it would be good to help with aid. Regardless of who you blame for the conflict, there are a lot of innocent families suffering.