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Alert! Palestine / Israel - what you can do

3 April 2002

Kia ora,

we are receiving messages hourly with news of the events which are taking place in Palestine and Israel and cannot find a way to summarise the horror and tragedy which these messages convey. We have instead put together this alert with some suggestions of things you can do.

Our focus in this alert is on the state terrorism being perpetrated by the Israeli government, precisely because as a state they have the responsibility and obligation to adhere to international law and human rights conventions - and they are not. This focus does not imply support for suicide bombings or violence by any other individual or group.

This alert is in six parts: where to get more information; make your views known; boycott Israeli goods; be visible; contact details for NZ politicians, diplomatic representatives, and media; and the main points of the 'Urgent Call to World Civil Society'. Thank you to everyone who supplied ideas and help with writing this.

*1* Where to get more information

We have updated the Israel / Palestine index page of our website with links to other websites where you can get regular updates of information; and a selection of articles (received up to about one week ago, those which have come in since then will be uploaded tomorrow afternoon).

*2* Make your views known

You could write to Helen Clark, Phil Goff, the US ambassador, the Israeli ambassador, and the mass media expressing your outrage about what is going on - contact details for these are at the end of this alert.

a) Points you could raise with Helen Clark and Phil Goff

- to pay attention to what people in the Occupied Territories are saying - as but one example, a just and peaceful resolution ... "entails the total withdrawal of Israel from the Palestinian occupied territories according to international law, UN Resolutions and declarations that respect the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination. Short of that, injustice remains and violence will not abate. Genuine peace is only possible when international resolutions are accepted and implemented". (Appeal from Birzeit University, 2 April 2002);

- to pay attention to what Kofi Annan, UN Secretary General is saying - "I must tell the Council candidly that I see no prospect of breaking the current downward spiral - and recreating the possibility of peace and security for both sides - unless we address the core problems in the Middle East - occupation; violence, including terrorism; and the economic plight of the Palestinian people," ... and ...

"the Secretary-General urged [Security] Council members to recall the adoption by the Arab League Summit last week of the Saudi peace proposal, as well as the Council's own recent resolution affirming a vision of two States, Israel and Palestine, living side by side within secure and recognized borders. He urged the Council to do its part to implement that resolution, as well as a subsequent text, adopted on Saturday, calling on Israel to withdraw troops from Palestinian cities, and urging both parties to move immediately to a meaningful ceasefire." UN News Service (1 April 2002).

In summary, the Arab League Declaration proposals referred to by Kofi Annan are: that Israel must withdraw from land seized in 1967: the West Bank, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights; agree right of return for Palestinian refugees; and accept independent Palestine with Jerusalem as capital. The Arab states will: consider Arab-Israeli conflict over; agree a peace treaty for the region; and establish normal relations with Israel.

Security Council Resolution 1402 (30 March 2002) called for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian cities, including Ramallah; and reiterated its demand in Resolution 1397 (12 March 2002) for an immediate cessation of all acts of violence, including all acts of terror, provocation, incitement and destruction. Security Council Resolution 1397 also affirmed "a vision of a region where two States, Israel and Palestine, lived side by side within secure and recognized borders";

- to pay attention to the people inside and outside the region who are calling for the deployment of international observers to protect the Palestinians;

- that the NZ government should give its full support to the Arab League Declaration as the means to a just resolution which takes into account UN resolutions over many years; it provides the best opportunity to resolve the conflict, meets the stated needs of all parties and is consistent with international law;

- that the NZ government should express to the Israeli government in the strongest possible language that they must respect international law and human rights conventions, they must withdraw immediately from Palestinian territory and stop military violence in all Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps as the first step towards peace and security for both Israelis and Palestinians; and stop shooting at civilians, unarmed medical personnel, foreign observers and journalists;

- that the NZ government should seriously consider stopping trade, economic and diplomatic links with Israel until this is done; and until there is visible evidence that the Israeli government is moving towards genuine negotiations for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. Over the past two years the NZ government has imposed sanctions on governments whose violations of international law and human rights conventions are significantly less severe than those of the Israeli government.

b) Points you could raise with the US ambassador

- those above; plus

- that the US government is directly responsible for the killings by the Israeli armed forces because of their role in arming and supporting the Israeli government. For example: in the US fiscal year 2002 budget, Israel is allotted $US2.04 billion in military aid;

- all military aid and weapons sales to the Israeli government should cease immediately.

*3* Boycott Israeli goods

If you wish to boycott Israeli goods, imports to this country include : Carmel wine and grape juice, sold in some Foodtown and New World outlets; and Pam's baby wipes, sold in New World. If you want to do this, check the label has 'Made in Israel' - it is useful if you could politely state your intention to boycott the product / shop (and why) with the store management.

If you come across other 'Made in Israel' goods, please let us know so we can pass that information on.

*4* Be visible!

Any and all peaceful protest to draw people's attention to, and increase their awareness of, what is going on would be especially welcome at this time.

If you can let us know the details of your protest event, then we will circulate them via our e-lists and list them in the 'what's on where section of our website (which is usually updated on Thursday afternoons). Because we are again receiving incoming email at a level where we cannot open all the messages, it is helpful if you put 'for what's on' in the subject heading so we notice it amongst the others.

*5* Contact details

a) Contact details for NZ politicians: phone calls and faxes (all to be prefixed by 04 by those of you out of Wellington, by + 64 4 by those of you receiving this overseas): * Helen Clark, Prime Minister, office - tel 471 9998, fax 473 3579; * Phil Goff, Minister of Foreign Affairs, office - tel 471 9370, fax 495 8444. Letters should be addressed to the relevant person and posted (no stamp needed) to Parliament Buildings, Wellington.

Additionally, it would be useful if you could send copies of your letter/s to Keith Locke, Green Party Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, tel 470 6709, fax 472 6003; and a copy of your correspondence and of any replies to PMA for our files.

b) Contact details for diplomatic representatives: * US ambassador - Charles Swindells, US Embassy, PO Box 1190, Wellington; tel (04) 472 2068; fax (04) 471 2380 or 472 9804; * Israeli ambassador - Ruth Kahanoff, Embassy of Israel, PO Box 2171, Wellington; tel (04) 472 2368, fax (04) 499 0632. If you would also like to convey your views to the British government, send them to the British High Commissioner - Mr Richard Fell, British High Commission, PO Box 1812, Wellington; tel (04) 924 2888; fax (04) 924 2831.

Ask them to forward your letter / message as a matter of urgency to their respective governments.

c) Media contact details - Christchurch Press, fax (03) 364 8492,; Dominion, fax (04) 4740257,; Evening Post, fax; (04) 474 0237,; New Zealand Herald, fax (09) 373 6434,; Sunday Star Times, fax (09) 309 0258; Press Association, fax (04) 473 7480; Listener, fax (09) 360 3831,; Radio New Zealand News, fax (04) 473 0185,

*6* Urgent Call to World Civil Society: Break the Conspiracy of Silence, Act Before it is too Late, from Palestinian and Israeli civil society leaders, 29 March 2002

We, the undersigned, believe that a full-scale Israeli offensive throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) is imminent and that such an unprecedented attack demands from global civil society an unprecedented response. For this reason, we urge global civil society including human rights organisations, solidarity groups, and individuals to take immediate direct action to stop Israel's all-out war against the Palestinian people and its 35-year belligerent military occupation of the Gaza strip and West Bank, including east Jerusalem ...

To this end, we call upon all those who oppose occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes, who are committed to justice and peace, who are willing to speak truth to power, to:

- Raise your voices to break the conspiracy of silence among governments that allows Israel, which enjoys the unlimited and unconditional support of the US, to commit war crimes and other violations of international humanitarian law with impunity;

- Clearly, vigorously, and publicly demonstrate before governments and international organisations to demand immediate and effective protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT, through protests, marches, media campaigns, and other peaceful means;

- Demand that governments end military assistance to Israel, suspend economic ties, and support the prosecution of war criminals, and urge other states to do so;

- Continue and intensify your activities as part of a sustained and systematic campaign to end the occupation, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and war crimes in the OPT and to support the legitimate rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people.

Israel / Palestine index page


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