The following press release appears today:
A campaign formed in Wellington to oppose the opening of an Israeli embassy says nobody would want the embassy as its neighbour.
NIEW – No Israeli Embassy in Wellington – is a coalition set up to oppose Israel plans to open an embassy in Wellington for the first time since 2002.
NIEW spokesperson Alastair Reith says there is fierce opposition to what the Israeli government is doing to the Palestinian population under occupation and its refusal to consider peace measures.
“Wherever the embassy goes it’ll be a noisy neighbourhood. We intend to have a frequent presence and make our objections known. We can’t make it as bad as Israel makes it for the people living under military siege in Gaza, but everyone will know we will be laying protest siege to wherever they finally locate the Embassy”.
NIEW was set up to support the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, which is supported by over 70 Palestinian civil society groups.
Mr Reithsays “New Zealanders protested for boycotts divestment and sanctions against South Africa during the apartheid era, and we now need to do the same for Israel, the worlds last race based state.” .
“Israel doesn’t allow half the Palestinian population to live in historical Palestine, and most other Palestinians have been under occupation for more than 40 years without the vote. It’s effectively a democracy only for Jews and a few Palestinians. That’s just like in South Africa where apartheid was a state for whites and a few select blacks,” Mr Reith says.
Mr Reith says NIEW is astonished the New Zealand government has agreed to let Israel open an embassy at this time.
“The timing is awful for a start. How come we are inviting Israeli diplomats here at exactly the same time the British government is expelling them?”
But Mr Reith says Israeli aims and strategy have remained the same for years.
“They are just more open and arrogant about it now.”
“It’s taken decades to shift half a million Israelis into illegal settlements on the West Bank to displace Palestinians, whose homes have been bulldozed down. New settlements are not news to the White House. Likewise Israeli spies have been stealing and faking foreign passports for years, including our own New Zealand ones. There is no surprise this is going on.”
“The same way it has always been clear and not new, that Israel intends to hold on to East Jerusalem as part of any peace deal with the Palestinians, despite Israel having no legal claim to the city. Only Israel has the cards to play to achieve peace but is now more blatant about it than ever that it doesn’t want peace only territory,” Mr Reith concluded.