Last week, a New Zealand government fund divested from three Israeli companies because of their involvement in the construction of Judea and Samaria settlements. Elbit, Lev Leviev’s Africa Israel and its construction subsidiary Danya Cebus, and Shikun & Binui were excluded from the $23.5 billion New Zealand Superannuation Fund, the New Zealand Herald reported last week.
In a statement, Anne-Maree O’Connor, the fund’s manager for responsible investment, said, “Findings by the United Nations that the separation barrier and settlement activities were illegal under international law were central to the fund’s decision to exclude the companies. The fund also factored in votes by New Zealand for UN Security Council resolutions demanding the cessation and dismantling of the separation barrier, and the cessation of Israeli settlement activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
As a Christian living in New Zealand I would like to apologize for the actions of the New Zealand government. In 1948 we stood by the Jewish people but now, for the sake of oil and meat sales, things have changed.
Much has been said about the dividing wall that Israel has built between the Jewish People and the Arab People, but very little has been asked about why it is there.
In 1992, a Policeman was kidnapped in Israel by a terrorist organization. They negotiated his freedom for the release of some of their own people. However, it was discovered that while the negotiations were going on he was already dead. Following this there were many kidnappings and killings of young soldiers as they hitchhiked across the country. Schoolgirls were attack in the schools and an older man waiting for a bus was murdered. Each time these attacks occurred the border between Israel and the “West Bank” was closed but when the situation cleared it was reopened. Finally in March 1993 Israel had had enough and with the coming of the Oslo Accords, which called for a separation of the two people, they closed the border. A month later, two terrorists trying to kidnap a busload of people, murdered two ladies. This confirmed to the Israel Government the closure should remain.
About this time, the Bus bombs started and many Israelis died, men, women and children all going about their general business. The bombs occurred in the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem and at bus stops throughout the country. The closure stayed in place. Then there was the bombing of the restaurant where the young lady who was to marry the next day, died with her father.
The problem with this closure was that it was like a sieve, the closure was only on the main roads and these check points were very easy to bypass. Once I traveled north to Jenin from Bethlehem, to take one of our boys home for the holidays. As the taxi was coming from Ramalah to Jerusalem, there was a large queue of vehicles waiting to pass through the checkpoint. The driver turned right and went up through the housing area, out onto a dry wadi and across several hundred meters of open ground, then turned back onto the main road and continued into Jerusalem, bypassing the checkpoint. This is how easy it was for bombers to enter into the cities of Israel.
Hundreds of Israelis have been killed or maimed for life since the signing of the Oslo Peace Accords. There have been more than 70 Palestinian bomb attacks aimed at Israelis since September 2000. On February 25, 2005, four people were killed and at least 30 injured in a bomb blast outside a night club in Tel Aviv, weeks after Israeli and Palestinian leaders declared a truce. We’ve lost count of the bombings that occurred when we were living there. A friend of ours survived a bombing but died from thyroid cancer, caused by the blast, 5 years later.
Since the building of the separation barrier, there have been about three attacks on Israelis, and all because the bombers cannot reach their planned targets. Of course this barrier is frustrating to the local people, but it is even more frustrating to the people carrying bombs; that is why they want it removed. It is difficult to pass through the checkpoint of the wall at times but it stops people from both sides being killed. The last time I passed through the wall it took about an hour, but this is a small price to pay when you think of the alternative. Nobody wants the wall, not Israel as it has caused them much bad publicity, not the Arabs because of the problems it can cause them just getting to work. The Orthodox Jews do not want it as it gives legitimacy to the West Bank, – Samaria and Judea the Biblical heart land of Israel – being given away to the very people who are trying to destroy the State of Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization Charter written in 1964 three years before Israel took over the West Bank and still in force today, calls for the destruction of Israel. The left wing Israelis don’t want it because they say it is an obstacle to peace.
The only reason it is there is to stop the suicide bombers getting into places like buses, malls, nightclubs, restaurants and Passover celebrations. I know from experience it is not a great feeling to get on a bus wondering how your journey will end. You get on a bus two weeks after your friend was in a bus bomb and sitting opposite you is a lady in full Burqa and it goes through your mind what is she hiding? When you get on a bus and a lady looks at you and says, “You know our buses blow up,” it really encourages you to stay on the bus! And, when a police car and ambulance drive slowly past the Central Bus Station and stop, the question goes through your mind, are they expecting trouble? So you decide to walk home rather than catch the bus. Or you are traveling on the roads and you have to stop because there is another bomb scare and you have to wait while the young men and women risk their lives to ensure it is safe to continue.
Since the building of the barrier very little has happened except the cries from the world for Israel to take it down, which is a way of telling them to let the bombers in. But there are very few if any cries to remove the other separation barriers built around the world to prevent terrorist activity entering their countries over disputed territory:
Indian – Kashmir Barrier, India 50 Km. Anti-terrorism (disputed territory)
Russia/Chechnya – Under construction 700 Km. Anti-terrorism (disputed territory)
Uzbek-Kyrgyzstan Barrier – 870 Km. Conflict zone.
Western Sahara, Berm of Morocco – 2,700 Km. Conflict zone (disputed territory)
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt 20 Km barrier. Anti-terrorism
United Nations Buffer Zone Cyprus 300 Km. Conflict zone
Why is Israel the only country not allowed to protect its citizens when you consider that the Israel/West Bank Barrier has reduced the terrorist attacks by 98%?
Nothing justifies the mass killing of men, women and children, it was not justified in Northern Ireland, it was not justified in Sri Lanka and it was not justified in Spain or New York or London and neither was it justified in Norway, so the question remains why is Israel not allowed to keep the barrier to prevent it happening there?
It is time to look at why the Barrier is there and not just declare it should come down. It is time to tell both sides to lay down their arms, not just Israel. But when one side states quite openly it will destroy the other given enough time, it is difficult for the other side to accept that they are serious about peace. In the words of a young Moslem University student who I was walking with in Bethlehem, “Israel must be destroyed before the great redeemer can come”. If this is the attitude of those who seem peaceful, then the words of Golda Meir, a former Israeli Prime Minister, are very true, “There will be no peace until they love their children more than they hate us”.
It is time to speak out against the rape of their children’s minds through being taught that to be suicide bombers and go straight to paradise is the best thing they can do with their lives. Until this changes sadly the wall will have to remain.
Let us continue to pray that all the people of Israel can live in peace and the Jewish people can live within the secure borders they desire, because to push for anything less is to go against the Word of God which tells us, “He will bring them back into the land and they will never be removed from the Land again”. Amos 9:14-15.
Dennis McLeod is Director of Christian Friends of Israel (NZ) Inc.
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