Thursday, February 29, 2024

Aoteraoa, Ukraine, and Gaza

Today the government designated the political wing of Hamas as a terrorist entity, making supporting them a criminal offence. I honestly don't know much about Hamas' organisation, or how involved its politicians were in planning its crimes in October last year, but when Israel is actively carrying out a genocide in Gaza, designating the political representatives of its victims as "terrorists" seems a little on the nose. And it invites the obvious question: when will we apply a similar designation to the Israeli government and its genocidal "defence forces"?

But beyond that, we should think about what our obligations are as a country which supports human rights and international law and opposes genocide. And unfortunately, we have a very illustrative example right to hand: Ukraine. Ukraine is a victim of invasion by a neighbour which has explicitly announced their intention to eliminate its culture and people, and who has given effect to that intention with numerous war crimes since the invasion began. And in response, the New Zealand government has:

  • Applied sanctions to the Russian economy and leadership;
  • Explicitly called for Putin to be tried for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
  • Provided money and other support to arm Ukraine to defend itself;

I have not been especially vocal about this, because I have a low tolerance for horror at the moment. But I think that's an appropriate response for a small country at the bottom of the world with our values. Its doing what we can to support Ukraine to defend itself and to support a peaceful world with international law.

But I think we should be doing the same for Gaza too. Hamas's attacks on 7 October were a terrorist act. But the Israeli response since has been disproportionate, indiscriminate, and explicitly genocidal. And that's something we should not tolerate. We should be sanctioning Israel, Netanyahu, and senior members of his genocidal regime. We should be supporting their arrest and extradition to The Hague for trial for genocide. And we should be arming the Palestinians. A people are being exterminated while we watch. The very least we can do is give them the means to defend themselves against it.