Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa – Newsletter No 16

Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa
20 February 2020
PSNA Newsletter No 16
Kia ora Mike,

The year is getting bigger and bigger!

In December the International Criminal Court announced, after five long years, it was preparing to launch an investigation into Israeli war crimes in Palestine and then just last week the United Nations Human Rights Council released its long-awaited list of companies, 112 in all, which are complicit in building illegal Jewish-only settlements on Palestinian land.

This is the perfect antidote to Trump and Netanyahu. Our job is to pressure our government and New Zealand companies to withdraw their investments from any companies involved in the brutal oppression of Palestinians. So…

What we’d like to do now is to write to your Kiwisaver provider and ask for an assurance they do not have investments in any of the companies on the UNHRC list.
PSNA National Chair John Minto has done a blogpost on this which issecretary to let us know the response you get from your Kiwisaver provider.

Calling all students
We are working to help tertiary students revamp and reorganise local “Students for Justice in Palestine” groups around the country where these are no longer active. If you are a tertiary student or know a tertiary student who could help please email secretary and we can put you in touch with the people in your centre.
Brother Peter Bray’s visit to New Zealand
We were delighted with the huge positive response to Brother Peter Bray’s visit to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Peter is the Vice Chancellor of Bethlehem University and he gave inspiring talks about the work of the university and the extreme difficulties the students have in getting to and from university and trying to live as normal lives as possible under Israeli military occupation.
Delegations to Members of Parliament

We have covered about half our electorate MPs with delegations from Palestinian supporters.

Are you able to organise a delegation of two or three people to speak with your local MP and deliver a copy of the “Let’s talk about Palestine/Israel” booklet?

If you can please email secretary and we will be able to send you more details.

Letters to Schools on the Holocaust and Al Nakba
We have written to each of the 56 schools which have agreed to provide one hour of Holocaust education every year with this letter below. We think the letter speaks for itself:
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa
18 February 2020

The Chairperson
Board of Trustees
Email:

Helping students learn about the Holocaust and Al Nakba (“the catastrophe” in Arabic)

We understand your school is one which has committed to providing at least an hour of education each year on the horrors of the Holocaust. We congratulate you on this because it is very important New Zealand children have at least a basic understanding of this horrific programme of Nazi genocide against European Jews and other European communities.

However, I’m sure you will understand that to look at the Holocaust in isolation could leave students with deeply negative views towards Palestinians because Israel’s dominant propaganda narrative says that after surviving the Holocaust in Europe the Jewish people have then had to suffer constant terrorism from Palestinians. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It is important that students understand that following the Second World War Jewish militias undertook a programme of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Palestine (called Al Nakba or “the catastrophe” by the Palestinians) to make way for a Jewish-majority state. This ethnic cleansing, including many massacres of Palestinians, was conducted prior to and following Israel’s declaration of Independence in 1948.

In fact, this ethnic cleansing is still going on. Every day since 1948 more Palestinians have been driven off their land and had their homes bulldozed.

What also makes Al Nakba especially relevant to the study of the Holocaust is that had the Holocaust not occurred, it is very likely that Al Nakba would have happened. Palestinians today are victims of the victims. We cannot be racist in selecting which victims to support. The remedy is the implementation of the Right of Return for Palestinians to their homes.

In summary it is important for students to understand that Palestinians are being forced to pay the price for European anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.

To assist schools in teaching the Holocaust and Al Nakba we have two resources:

  1. A small booklet called “Let’s talk about Palestine/Israel” which is in question and answer format suitable for students to gain an understanding of the history of the Holocaust and the Nakba. It explains the deeply racist policies of the Israeli state and explains why Nobel Prize winner and South African Human Rights champion, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, says we must declare Israeli policies “apartheid policies” and support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign to pressure Israel.
  2. An excellent map – produced by the Palestinian Land Society – which shows the Palestinian villages “depopulated” by Israel and the illegal Jewish-only settlements built on occupied Palestinian land

We would be happy to send a copy of each to your school, at your request, free of charge although we would need to charge a small amount if you decide to purchase more copies.

We would also be happy to provide or recommend a speaker who would be available to talk with your students about these critical issues.

Thank you for your time in reading through this letter. We look forward to hearing from you.

Na,

John Minto
National Chair
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa
johnminto

BDS Conference – and international visitors
Haneen Zoabi
The Australian-based BDS conference has three international speakers coming including outspoken Palestinian-Israeli Haneen Zoabi who is a member of the Israeli Knesset. We are excited at the possibility of having her visit New Zealand while she is in this part of the world – we will keep you posted…
Kia ora Gaza – Call for applications to join the 2020 Freedom Flotilla to Gaza
As previously announced, Kia Ora Gaza has been invited to facilitate a volunteer from New Zealand/Aotearoa to join the 2020 Freedom Flotilla to once again challenge Israel’s illegal naval blockade of Gaza, and pressure governments to take action.

Kia Ora Gaza is a partner in the international Freedom Flotilla Coalition, a global citizens initiative, which, at the request of the Palestinians, is currently planning to sail again to Gaza in May this year – the tenth anniversary of Israel’s deadly attack on a six-boat peace flotilla to Gaza in 2010 when Israeli commandos killed 10 civilians and injured 56 others on the Mavi Marmara in international waters.

2020 is also deeply significant, as eight years ago the UN calculated that, due to Israel’s constant military bombardments, crippling siege and blockade, the Gaza Strip would become uninhabitable by this year.

We welcome applications to represent our country on this important international mission.

We are seeking a steadfast human rights advocate or journalist with an affinity for indigenous struggles, especially in support of justice and freedom for the Palestinian people, two million of whom remain besieged in impoverished Gaza.

The applicant should be reasonably healthy, and able to set aside about two weeks at the end of May. The mission will include non-violence and safety training before sailing the Mediterranean towards Gaza, facing risks with the likely illegal capture and then detention in Israel – followed by deportation and a ten-year ban from entering Israel.

However, if the flotilla manages to break through the blockade (this could be that historic moment – it’s got to happen sometime!), expect a huge, jubilant welcome at the port of Gaza.

NZ reps on previous Gaza Flotillas have included a MaoriTV film crew led by journalist Ruwani Perera in 2015, Green MP Marama Davidson in 2016, and Unite Union National President, Mike Treen in 2018.

We have launched an appeal to cover the costs for this mission, which will focus on the plight of the one million children and young people in Gaza, and will carry some humanitarian aid.

Our mission is peaceful, our purpose is humanitarian, with the aim of ending Israel’s inhuman blockade as a major step towards peace and justice in Palestine. For until that day there can be no peace in the Middle East. And without peace in the Middle East, there can be no world peace. It’s that crucial.

If you would like to represent NZ/Aotearoa on the 2020 Freedom Flotilla, please contact the Kia Ora Gaza Trust before the end of February. Email address: office

If you want to support the appeal for this mission please…
Make a direct payment to our bank account: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, 03-0211-0447718-000, Westpac Bank, Onehunga branch. Afterwards, email office with your deposit details so we can send you an e-receipt.

Write a cheque for ‘Kia Ora Gaza’ and post to: Kia Ora Gaza Trust, P.O. Box 86022, Mangere East, Auckland 2158

Kia Ora Gaza is a Charitable Trust incorporated under the Charitable Trusts Act 1957. Registration number 2540065 however we are not registered with IRD for tax deduction purposes, as Kia Ora Gaza is deemed to be mainly an advocacy group.

3rd Reprint – If you haven’t purchased one yet – buy a copy of our excellent small booklet of common questions and answers on the Middle East conflict.
We are on our third reprint of the booklet.
Have you got your copy yet?
Buy a copy for yourself and maybe a few to give to friends and family. Send your address in an email to bronwensummers and pay $5 online for a single copy – includes post and packaging – add $2 each for extra copies)
Account Name: Palestine Solidarity Network
Account No: 38 9015 0849542 00
T-shirts and merchandise for sale:
Our spokesperson John Minto recently walked Te Araroa (from Cape Reinga to Tekapo – he will finish in Summer) wearing this T-shirt. He still has the T-shirt but has lost the beard!

We have these T-shirts for sale:
$26 + postage XXL, XL, L, M, S, XS (size 8)
$30 + postage XXXXL, XXXL

Email bronwensummers or phone 03 55 00 132 txt 0220850161

Alternatively, you can buy merchandise including T-shirts from our website
http://www.palestinesolidaritynz.net/shop.html

T shirt Free Palestine End Israeli Occupation medium size only $22
Kaffiyeh 110 x 110 $44 + postage
For any of these email bronwensummers or phone 03 55 00 132 or txt 0220850161
Alternatively, you can buy merchandise including T-shirts from our website

http://www.palestinesolidaritynz.net/shop.html

Are you able to donate a cup of coffee a month to the campaign?

We will need some serious money to make our campaign as effective as possible. For example, we will need somewhere in the vicinity of $25,000 to bring speakers to New Zealand over the next year and organise large public meetings to help spread the message.

You can help. Are you able to donate a cup of coffee a month to the campaign? In other words, can you afford to make an automatic payment of $5 per month to support the Palestinian struggle? (If you can afford more that would be great!)

Our account details are:
Account name: Palestine Solidarity Network
Account number: 38-9015-0849542-00
Or Pay Pal account: admin

We are happy to provide a receipt upon request (however, we are not a registered charity so this is not tax-deductible)

More ways you can get involved

  • Forward this Newsletter – If you know people who may be interested in this movement, please forward this Newsletter to them. They can sign up themselves by emailing secretary
  • Join in local activities in your area monthly Rallies – In Auckland, we hold a monthly Protest at Aotea Square at 2.00 pm on the first Saturday of every month. Please consider doing the same in your community. Contact Secretary if you would like to know where and how to get Flags and Banners
  • Help set up a Students for Justice in Palestine group on your campus
  • Tell Your MP your opinions on Divestment and Sanctions of Israel
  • Write Letters to Newspapers – Call Talkback Radio
  • Keep in touch with the campaign on social media
  • Sign up for the In Occupied Palestine Newsletter in Affiliates below. News and statistics are reported on daily. These are sourced and compiled from the Palestinian Monitoring Group’s daily situation reports. The In Occupied Palestine daily newsletter is circulated, by email, worldwide to subscribers only
  • Keep Updated on our Facebook pages and websites (listed below)
Regional
Whangarei PSNA Palmerston North
Wellington Wellington Palestine
Nelson Te Tau Ihu (Nelson) Palestine
Christchurch PSNA Christchurch
Dunedin Dunedin for Justice in Palestine
Invercargill <a href="mailto:Invercargill
New Zealand Affiliates
Auckland – Students for Justice in Palestine
Kia Ora Gaza
Letters for Palestine
Auckland Peace Action
<a href="mailto:lesliebravery
John Minto
Spokesperson
Palestine Solidarity Network Aotearoa
Twitter
Facebook
Website

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