Kiwi media ‘climbs aboard’ for Gaza

June 26, 2015 by Keren Cook
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A New Zealand team from Maori Television has joined Freedom Flotilla III, which has just set sail from the port of Messina, Italy to link up with other ships taking supplies to Palestinians in Gaza.

It’s not unusual for Maori TV to send their journalists out to cover indigenous communities offshore.

NZ-journalists aboard Gaza-bound flotilla

NZ-journalists aboard Gaza-bound flotilla

So why are New Zealanders literally jumping onboard Palestinian issues?

There are several reasons, says Wellington’s Victoria University strategic studies professor Robert Ayson.

New Zealand likes to mark its identity through at-times politically unconventional stances. It was the first country to give women the vote in 1893, and has maintained a nuclear-free policy since 1984. New Zealand withstood political pressure and did not send troops to invade Iraq in 2003.

“Countries don’t take New Zealand lightly. We may not have a very big economy or defense force, but we carry a certain amount of moral authority,” said Ayson.

The Kiwi media team includes senior journalist Ruwani Perera and award-winning, freelance camera operator Jacob Byrant. Their role on board is to observe and document the mission, currently steaming to break an Israel-controlled naval blockade.

Former Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and Arab-Israeli politician Basel Ghattas accompanies the Kiwi journalists. The Native Affairs team joins delegations from 20 other countries on at least three ships.

Up to 70 people are expected to be part of the flotilla, according to a statement from the Platform of French NGOs for Palestine.

The Israel-Egypt blockade has been in place since 2007 and was considered legal according to The Palmer Report conducted by the United Nations in 2011.

The Palmer Report provides an in-depth overview about the naval blockade, prevention of future incidents and rapprochement.

NZ Journalist Ruwani Perera photographs activists on-board Marianne av Goteborg

NZ Journalist Ruwani Perera photographs activists on-board Marianne av Goteborg

In point 6 of The Palmer Report: ‘How to Avoid Similar Incidents in the Future’ – it strongly states that flotilla events are not to be repeated in the interests of peace and stability of the region.

The report says: “Adverse consequences can flow from situations where violence occurs and lives are lost. Public opinion can be inflamed and further violent events can result.”

The Middle East Quartet (comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia) made similar calls in its 21 June 2010 statement saying: “Such convoys are not helpful in resolving the basic economic problems of Gaza” and that “they needlessly carry the potential for escalation.”

In this regard, it strongly urges those “nations involved are under duty to actively co-operate to avoid endangering both individual lives and the security of the region. The report goes on to say that the States consult directly to this end and make every effort to avoid a repetition of the incident.

“The Government of Israel has taken significant steps to ease the restrictions on goods entering Gaza since the 31 May 2010 incident. On June 20, 2010 Israel announced a package of measures aimed at those restrictions. The Middle East Quartet welcomed this initiative.”

The Palmer Report was specifically commissioned after the flotilla incident in 2010 where activists sought to break the blockade and ten were killed by the IDF during inspection phase.

The event became an international scandal attracting criticism of the IDF’s handling of the incident, leading to a deterioration of political relations between Israel and Turkey.

This year, New Zealand opened the start of their third term on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) – their first in 21 years – with fighting words.

Sir Jim McLay, currently New Zealand’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations says: “Arguments that this Council doesn’t have a role, or that it can’t add value, can no longer be justified, particularly as other ways to find a solution haven’t succeeded.”

McLay’s remarks look to reflect New Zealand’s intention to be instrumental in the peace process and drive renewed efforts at a two-state solution.

New Zealand Israeli Ambassador, Yosef Livne says in a “Reconstruction in Gaza update” June 17, 2015, – that it’s important to note that for the past five years, all types of foodstuff, as well as all consumer and other goods, are allowed to enter Gaza from Israel. The only prohibitions are on weapons and a short list of dual-use items that can be exploited for use in terrorism.

Meanwhile, Freedom Flotilla III steams it’s way to Gaza and vows – ‘this time we will reach Gaza.’


10 Responses to “Kiwi media ‘climbs aboard’ for Gaza”
  1. Elizabeth Cook says:

    Supporting Palestinians is not anti-Jew. It is supporting people just like ourselves in the face of an aggressive movement called Zionism that thinks it is right and everyone else is wrong. Zionism takes land off those who live there and does not recognize Palestinian sovereignty. Israeli people and the people who support them need to understand their privilege and power and the coercion by military might of this state, Israel.

    • Paul GALY Galambos OAM says:

      Zionism is a movement for Jews to return, to mount Zion, their ancestral land,we’re they were forsably driven of by the Romans.( THE JEWS ARE THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE OF ISRAEL AND JUDEA )
      Small mistreated Jewish communitys living in exile,scattered all over the world, finished ther prayers with a wish ,Next year we pray “IN JERUSALEM ” for 18 hundred years. After the First World War, Britain and France colonialised the whole of the Midle east, an area re named by the Romans ,”palestina” deemed by Britain as uninhabitable , malaria riddled rocky desert ,was promised by Britain (BALFOUR DECLORATION) and than by the league of Nations (the previous name to the UN).To the Jews. The pioneering Zionist, with extremely hard work,and ingenuity, to the amazement of the whole world, they made the desert bloom. 82% of the Mandate of Palestine was illegaly partitioned, the Kingdom of Jordan was created. The Jews were left with 18% of the original promise, they continued to build and cler land , there was job opportunities, immigration from improvised Arab countrys was encouraged. After oil was discovered in the region,the raining dictators kings and thugs pressured Britain to stop the returning Jews, After 1923 for every one Jew three Arab was allowed , many more arrived illegally, they now calling them selfs ” Palestinians” This situation was created by Britain, same on them. 20% of Israels population,call themselves Israely Arabs ,their profession ranges from diplomats,judges and members of parliament to ordinary workers,with rights as in all real multi cultural democracys. Frightened to speak the truth, as the Palestinian leadership,the PLO or HAMAS will harm ther families under their control.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      You either do not understand or pretend not to understand the root cause of the Gaza Arabs’ predicament.
      They support an explicitly genocidal leadership called Hamas/PA.
      They continuously try to make life impossible for the Israelis, especially in the south of Israel.
      They have sworn eternal enmity to Jewish national rights.
      They have been waging continual warfare against Israel for decades.
      Those who deny that Israel has the right to defend its people against all this are
      our mortal enemies.

  2. Nicole McGrath says:

    When people have experienced being cornered, starved, their family members dying under their oppressors violence and increasingly tighter boundaries, they know this suffering and many of them reach out to help others in the same situation. Palestinian people are not able to live normally, to trade, to live without violence or delays so extended that lives crumble, just as many indigenous people have experienced around the world. If the people of Israel had experienced this, they too would rush to help. But they have lived that experience. The people remember, many of them. It is the government that is not human.

    • Paul GALY Galambos OAM says:

      Dear Nicole, The inhuman government of Israel is elected by the people, 20% of the parliament is Israely Arabs (Palestinian) Gaza is ruled by ironfisted bloodthirsty thugs,they execute anyone who speaks out,against them. The population is used as indispensable pawns, and yes they are cornered,
      intimidated and blockaded by Egyip mainly ,as electricity fuel ,food and all items except what could be used or made into weapons is transported by Israel into Gaza. Nearly 10 years ago when Israel pulled out, it left factories with contracts, thousands of farms and hot houses,so the population can feed it self
      The HAMAS thugs bulldozed every one of them,their aim is to keep the people pour ,hungry dependent on out side help and desperate . As all Islamist movement, HAMAS wants to destroy,
      Western ideology,specially Israel,by any means,by launching thousands of indiscriminate useless rockets into Israel, forcing the Israely population into bomb shelters,hurts its economy and intimidates the people,who demand the government to order the army to take action,to stop the attack.
      When the army retaliate ,HAMAS uses its population as human shields,pictures of injured children horifiy us all, the image of suffering children makes the the world condem Israel, and HAMAS wins the propaganda war. No one is protesting agains Syria,deliberately using barel bombs on civilians or Soudi ‘s bobbing civilians in Yemen or the hundreds of Islamisttroops ,indiscriminate killings and enslaving minority’s in Africa or Irak or the ethnic cleansing of Chistians from Bethlehem by the PLO.

  3. PHIL LEVY says:

    I hope they learned to swim !!!

  4. Rodger Bodle says:

    Professor Robert Alyson should volunteer to serve in the IDF for a few months to experience what life is really like trying to protect Israeli citizens, children, women, and the Palestinians elderly from hostile Palestinians. Oh yes, has anyone told him that Israeli Muslims have also joined the IDF to help protect their villages from the Palestinians. We Kiwis learned a great deal while in the IDF as volunteers and we had never regretted it, it was a real eye opener.

  5. Marta Mikey Frid says:

    Supplies of what?
    I’s simply amazing how much pleasure people can get from doing evil.

  6. Michael Kuttner says:

    This media circus by Maori TV has nothing to do with NZ’s moral authority and everything to do with media ignorance and bias. What better way to boost ratings than to hop on to the Israel bashing/hating bandwagon.

  7. Leon Poddebsky says:

    No; it’s not a “freedom flotilla;” it’s a Hamas murderers’ supporters flotilla.
    Don’t become a prisoner of “the media’s” perversion of language by surrendering to their attempts to foist Newspeak / Hamasspeak onto the public.

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