On Saturday the 19th of July up to 5000 New Zealanders took to the streets of Auckland. Their demands were nothing less than the end of Israeli violence against Palestine. Over the last two weeks the Israeli military has rained down bombs and missiles with impunity on the Palestinian people. No one has been spared, mothers, fathers, children, even whole families have been wiped out by Israeli ordinance. The disabled are not even given a reprieve, with those injured and maimed by blasts and shrapnel from previous Israeli bombing campaigns finally murdered as Israel finishes the job.
Israel, as with previous bombing campaigns, accuses Palestinian civilians of being sheep who are herded into the war zone by Hamas terrorists. But this is merely an attempt to muddle the facts and excuse murder as collateral damage. This so called "war zone" is where Palestinian neighbourhoods and homes are located, crushed within an ever shrinking border as Israel illegally seizes territory from Palestinians. They have no where left to go, unwilling to leave their lives and homes, and if they do leave, there is no guarantee their occupied land would ever be returned. Thus these are not war zones, but sanctuaries Palestinians are reluctant to leave, upon which Israel reigns death.
Hamas are the elected leaders of Gaza, and the only organisation which has shown the will to resist Israeli aggression. That is why they won, because Palestinians have no option but to resist, if they stopped they would be left at the tender mercy of Israeli bulldozers. They are decried as terrorists by Israeli politicians and our own media, but how can someone who seeks to defend their borders from a vastly superior force which occupies their nation as a matter of course, be called a terrorist, are they not partisans? We may disagree with their politics but until free from occupation they cannot put down their guns.
So it was with conviction that 5000 people marched in solidarity with Palestine upon the United States embassy, the largest financial and moral supporter of Israeli aggression. The U.S has only called upon Israel to 'minimize' casualties, seeing any civilian deaths as acceptable we denounce as repugnant and criminal. Outside the embassy protesters laid olive branches to symbolise their solidarity for peace for the Palestinian people, and sung "We are all Palestinians".
This has been done before but was unique and valuable for a two reasons. Firstly this was the largest protest for the freedom of Palestine in New Zealand, ever. This is significant, it represents the slipping of the Israeli/imperialist story about plucky Israel beset upon all sides by 'terrorists'. This represents a portion of the population who have seen through the hegemony of the Israeli narrative, a chink opened by the suffering of Palestinians and the valiant efforts of activists. We must set about widening this chink into a gaping chasm, until the majority of the population can no longer doubt the complicity of our own government in supporting Israel and its murderous agenda.
Secondly, for the first time in New Zealand history, a political party has decided to unreservedly support the Palestinian struggle for freedom. The MANA Movement has called for political and economic isolation of the Israeli state. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11296381
Socialist Aotearoa was invested in this internal debate and is delighted in the stance MANA has taken. However this raises new questions over the unity of these two factors, growing solidarity for Palestine and a new left parliamentary party with strong ties to both indigenous and workers struggle.
MANA could be a sizable voice in further challenging the existing narrative over the Palestinian conflict, while providing a much broader base from which pro-Palestinian activists could work in a sympathetic atmosphere. Conversely as the Imperialist narrative collapses, MANA could stand to gain substantial votes from an electorate who recognises in MANA a party willing to take a stand, not just on domestic but also international injustices. These ideas need to be further discussed and a cohesive plan assembled to avoid squandering a historic opportunity to both build a mass workers party and international struggle.
Therefore, Socialist Aotearoa is holding a public meeting on:
Wednesday the 23rd of July, 7:30 pm, at Unite Union, 6a Western Springs road, Kingsland.
Workers of the world unite!
By Dave J.