The upcoming New Zealand election gives citizens the opportunity to ask questions of prospective parliamentary candidates and stand a better than usual chance of actually getting an answer. Although election campaigns are often focussed on domestic matters, they are also times when the attitudes of candidates to global, human rights issues can be tested.
As someone who supports Palestinian human rights we urge you to use your own versions of the questions below to seek a clear commitment from prospective parliamentary candidates to justice for Palestine.
You should be able to ask one or more of these questions at a face-to-face meeting, or by email. If you are emailing we suggest that you personalise the email by letting the candidate know you are a constituent and saying why the issue is important to you. You might also want to let them know you are a member, or supporter, of Wellington Palestine.
If you do ask a question please send us a note citing the candidates name, the questions asked and the responses made. Also, please let us know if you asked a question and no response was made. Send your responses to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q1. Opposing illegal settlement expansion and annexation.
In defiance of international law, Israel has continued to expand settlements on occupied Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It has also declared an intention to annex Palestinian territory. As an MP in the incoming parliament, would you agree to sanction Israel for its actions by, for example, banning the import of settlement goods into New Zealand and ensuring the Superannuation Fund is not investing in companies with business arrangements in the illegal settlements?
Q2. Lifting the blockade of Gaza.
Since 2007 Israel has maintained an illegal land, sea and air blockade of Gaza. The two million Palestinians who live there have been described as living in the largest open air prison in the world. With the number of COVID-19 cases in the territory climbing higher every day, and a humanitarian disaster now looming, how would you use your influence as an incoming MP to pressure Israel to lift the blockade?
Q3. Opposing the use of Israeli military detention on Palestinian children.
The reports of numerous international, human rights organisations have highlighted the mistreatment of Palestinian child prisoners in Israeli military detention. As an incoming MP how would you use your position to condemn Israel’s use of military courts and military detention for Palestinian children?
Q4. Recognition of Palestinian statehood.
As an incoming MP, would you use your position to urge New Zealand to join the 138 states that already recognize the State of Palestine, and speak up for a just end to the military occupation?
Q5. Freedom of speech and the BDS movement
In several countries, the pro-Israel lobby has been successful in using false accusations of antisemitism to shut down criticism of Israel and to ban the peaceful, non-violent activity of the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. As an incoming MP would you act to ensure freedom of speech and support the campaigning activity of the BDS movement?
Image credit: Keith Miller