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To: The New Zealand Government

Sanction Israel: Delay Means Palestinians Pay

In January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered a series of provisional measures against Israel[1]. Some of these measures include ordering Israel to;

1. Take all possible measures to prevent genocidal acts.
2. Take effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip.
3. Prevent the destruction of evidence related to allegations of acts.

Israel has failed to comply with the ICJ's provisional measures and, in some areas, committed more violations after the ruling[2].

NZ must impose economic and diplomatic sanctions on Israel in response to the violations of the ICJ provisional measures, similar to those placed on Russia in the 2022 Russia Sanctions Act. NZ has imposed sanctions on over 1,600 people and entities, including Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago till February 2024.

Regarding Israel, NZ has only placed sanctions in the form of travel bans on individual extremist settlers in the West Bank. However, these sanctions have little to no effect as the number of settler attacks on Palestinians and their property has increased. Sanctioning a few settlers will not help, while NZ turns a blind eye to ministers who arm and incite settlers to carry out attacks, e.g. Minster Ben Gvir, Bezalel Smotorich and Benjamin Netanyahu.

NZ must sanction the Israeli state and their political and military figures. NZ's inability to do so thus far has highlighted its double standards when responding to war crimes and violations of international law.

The lifting of the sanctions must be tied to Israel's agreement to:

1. Open all available land crossings to humanitarian aid trucks.

- The only two available crossings are the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings[4]. Israel must open the Erez crossing to Palestinians in the north who are currently facing Israel-induced famine.

2. Guarantee the safety of all aid seekers and coordinators of humanitarian aid.

- Israel requires the coordination of all movements of UN and aid agency personnel within Gaza. Despite coordination of aid, according to Human Rights Monitor, the Israeli military has killed at least 560 and injured 1,523 other Palestinians in incidents involving aid trucks amid it's war on Gaza from October 7 - to March 23[5]. The casualty tolls comprise Palestinian aid seekers, aid workers, and coordinators and distributors.

3. To not deliberately obstruct lifesaving humanitarian assistance during a man-made famine.

- As of the 25th of March, Israel has intentionally blocked all UNRWA aid deliveries to northern Gaza, which, as mentioned earlier, 70% of the northern population is in a state of man-made famine[6]. UNRWA is the largest provider of humanitarian aid in Gaza, serving at least 1.7 million Palestinians in Gaza[7]. Intentionally blocking aid from a UN organisation that has a legal right to provide aid in Gaza, particularly during a famine, is a clear war crime[8].

4. To remove the repetitive bureaucratic procedures designed to slow aid delivery.

- There was a 44% reduction in aid delivery during February compared to January[4]. The main blockers of aid entry are arbitrary denials by Israel and lengthy clearance procedures, which include repetitive screenings during narrow operating hours. Aid trucks, on average, wait 20 days during the screening process to be cleared to enter Gaza[4]. Trucks yet to be screened end up stranded in extensive queues[9].
-The screening process is also inconsistent, as trucks can pass one inspection only to be rejected in the second inspection despite having no change. Entire caravans are either arbitrarily rejected or due to items considered of "dual use"[10]. The dual-use list has arbitrary inclusions such as anesthetics, crutches, dates, fuel generators and oxygen tanks[11].

5. To not pursue ground and ariel operations in Rafah

- Rafah is the last “safe zone” for more than 1.5 million Palestinians. Palestinians have been repeatedly displaced in Gaza because Israel's actions contradict their statements[12]. Areas previously declared as "safe zones" are not safe at all. There is nowhere else for the Palestinians to go[13].

6. To not build illegal settlements and confiscate Palestinian land in the West Bank

- On the 23rd of March, Israel announced their illegal seizure of 800 hectares of land in the occupied West Bank (Palestinian territory)[14]. This is also the largest land appropriation in over 30 years. Israel also plans to build 3500 illegal settlements in the West Bank[15]. Settlements, which involve the forced transfer of the local/indigenous population, are illegal in international law[16].

All human life is precious, and no matter where we come from, we all deserve to live free from violence and to put our children to bed, knowing that they will wake up safely.

Why is this important?

Despite rulings from the UN General Assembly and the International Court of Justice, the state of Israel is continuing to kill Palestinians relentlessly in what are widely considered war crimes, including:

- As of the 24th of March, 32,000+ Palestinians have been killed and 74,000+ injured. The majority of civilians killed (60%) are women and children[17].

- More journalists have been killed in this war than in other wars or events in the last 30 years. Before the Gaza war (Between 2001-22), at least 20 journalists were also killed by the IDF, with no one ever being charged or held accountable[18,19].

- More children have been killed in this war than in any global conflict in the last four years (between 2019 and 2022)[20].

- Gaza is experiencing the world's worst man-made hunger crisis[21].
As of March, the entire population in the Gaza Strip (2.23 million) is facing high levels of acute food insecurity[22]. Famine (the most extreme level of food deprivation) is imminent in central and northern Gaza. It is projected to increase between mid-March and May 2024, placing 70% (around 210,000 people) of the population at death's door.

-As of the 21st of March, at least 56% of all buildings/structures in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed by the IDF. These include structures such as houses, housing units, schools and mosques[23].

Are these not sanction-worthy crimes?

NZ also has legal obligations and must impose sanctions on the state of Israel for their flagrant violation of human rights, war crimes against the Palestinian people and for failing to comply with the ICJ rulings [24].

Legal obligations:

International humanitarian law (IHL)

-As of the 25th of March, The UN Security Council (for the first time) unanimously passed a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan[25]. The resolution is legally binding and requires immediate implementation by the international community to use all forms of leverage, like imposing sanctions and arms embargo on Israel, to make it comply with international law, e.g., ensure the protection of civilians[26].

Genocide Convention

-All states parties to the Genocide Convention have a "common interest" in ensuring the prevention, suppression, and punishment of genocide. In their case, the ICJ also concluded that South Africa has a plausible case that Israel's acts could amount to genocide and that Palestinians are to be protected from genocide by Israel[27]. Hence, NZ has a legal obligation to do what it can to ensure that Israel complies with the court's orders.

Good faith

- NZ is legally obligated to act in good faith towards the ICJ ruling as it is a UN member.

Stop waiting for an imaginary threshold to be reached to take action. Stop waiting for the genocide to become worse than it already is. Any help or sympathy at that point would be too little too late. We need immediate action from our leaders now!

[23] https://www.conflict-damage

How it will be delivered

I plan on contacting an MP to acknowledge the idea of sanctioning Israel in Parliament.

Gaza Strip

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2024-05-14 20:08:03 +1200

100 signatures reached

2024-04-08 12:30:14 +1200

50 signatures reached

2024-03-28 07:29:36 +1300

25 signatures reached

2024-03-28 07:26:18 +1300

10 signatures reached