The following was written when news surfaced in Wellington media in May 2023 that a motion had been tabled with the Wellington City Council for it to officially give recognition to Palestinian statehood. The motion is due to be debated by the WCC councilors on 29 June. Added to this were concerns being voiced from reliable sources that the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, was considering officially giving recognition to “Palestine”. Personal emails to every Wellington City Councilor as well as to every member in Parliament were submitted in the hope of turning this around. Two full page advertorials have now been approved by Stuff to be published in Wellington City’s The Post on Friday 23 June and Saturday 24 June. Here is the text of that article with corroborating hyperlinks to references substantiating my claims:
NO RECOGNITION WITHOUT A NEGOTIATED SETTLEMENT
Recognition of Palestinian statehood at this time would be a major blunder and would play into the hands of terrorist leaders in Hamas and corrupt leaders in the Palestinian Authority. In the opinion of this writer, they are not ready for statehood and some of the reasons are stated below:
- When rockets are fired indiscriminately into Israeli population centres, often without any military provocation from Israel, then one must wonder what will happen if the Palestinian leadership in Gaza are granted official recognition from the nations of the world. Hamas is still recognised as a terrorist organisation by many including the United States, United Kingdom, and the European Union. In the latest round during a five-day period in May, over 1400 projectiles were sent toward the Jewish State. Since the beginning of 2021 over 7,000 rockets have been fired toward Israel. Thousands more have been fired since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.
- The Palestinian militants often fire the rockets from their own population centres and in doing so put their own people at risk. This and the previous point have been called war crimes.
- The Hamas charter of 1988 has called for the destruction of Israel, and although they have indicated a softening of this stance their actions speak contrary. Palestinian leaders both in Gaza and the West Bank call for the future liberation of all Palestine, which would mean the elimination of the State of Israel. Often, we hear in the chants of those supporting Palestinian statehood, “from the river to the Sea Palestine will be free”.
- The Palestinian Authority refuses to continue negotiations with Israel, although this was a precondition to statehood as outlined in the Oslo Accords of 1993.
- Palestinian leaders refuse to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish State. One of the primary reasons for the establishment of the State of Israel after the Holocaust was to offer a place of refuge for Jews facing persecution anywhere in the world.
- Palestinian schoolbooks funded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency incite antisemitism in their education system. This should not be tolerated. Nor should statements to incite bloodshed be made like those that PA President Mahmoud Abbas made in 2015, “we welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem…”
- Palestinian leaders refuse to renounce terrorism. This should be a prerequisite to any form of recognition.
- The Palestinian Authority rewards terrorists with “pay for slay” where those murdering innocent Israelis are given rich financial rewards which also become incentives to carry out such attacks.
- Erroneous and false claims against the people and land of Israel are often made, denying the historical connection of the Jewish people to the land.
New Zealand acknowledgement of such statehood under these circumstances would be an affirmation of all the above and would make us culpable for what follows. Recognition under these circumstances plays into the hands of the terrorist leaders who will be emboldened by our support. It is the opinion of this writer that such recognition will not bring about a peaceful resolution but will perpetuate the conflict. This article mainly deals with security concerns as to why there should be changes before recognition is given, yet much more could also be said about changes and advances that would need to take place administratively, economically, and politically.
This writer believes that the Palestinians should be persuaded to go back to the negotiating table to make peace with the Israelis who are waiting, rather than be rewarded with recognition for their terrorism and intransigence. It is apparent to some that the Palestinians are deliberately bypassing direct talks with the Israelis, something they had agreed to do. It seems they are trying to find a way around their commitment by involving nations who do not appear to appreciate what is at stake.
New Zealand should refuse recognition of Palestinian statehood until the following conditions are met:
- The Palestinians should negotiate with their “peace-partner” Israel and come to an agreed settlement.
- They should renounce terrorism against the Jewish State.
- They should acknowledge legitimate Jewish claims to the same land and negotiate – that is why there is a dispute which needs to be solved through dialogue.
- They should cease their apparent delegitimization of Israel and not make erroneous and false claims such as “Israel is an apartheid state”, when in fact Israel is the only liberal democracy in the region.
- They should hold democratic elections both within the Palestinian Authority and Gaza Strip before any recognition is given. There have been no democratic elections in the Palestinian Authority for many years, something which is strictly in their power to perform.
At least three times in modern history the Palestinians have been offered statehood with generous concessions of land with the blessing of the Israelis – 1947, 2000, 2008 – but each time they have turned down the opportunity, and this has perpetuated the conflict.
The message should be conveyed to the Palestinians that they must work it out with the Israelis first.
It would be hypocritical of New Zealand to try and impose on Israel a pre-determined resolution by officially recognizing Palestine, while New Zealand has enough of its own unresolved internal issues to deal with.
Pastor Nigel Woodley Ph.D.
FOR THE PROTECTION OF ZION TRUST