Sanctions could help stop the violence

Green Foreign Affairs spokesperson Keith Locke has backed a visiting Palestinian diplomat’s call for sanctions against Israel.

“Talk alone will obviously not force Israel to end its occupation and let the Palestinian Authority function,” said Mr Locke. “Last week New Zealand imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. The case for sanctions against Israel is no less strong.

“For a start New Zealand could state that it will not be signing any new contracts with Israeli firms or government agencies.

“Because we are not a large country, any actions we take may be mainly symbolic – but this is also the case with the Zimbabwe sanctions.

“However, our initiative might encourage other Western countries to follow suit. Already the European Parliament has voted in favour of sanctions.

“New Zealand could also show support for the Palestinian people by giving its diplomats official status. Ali Kazak, Palestinian representative to Australasia and the Pacific should be given full diplomatic privileges here. New Zealand should also join the 125 countries which have recognised a Palestinian state.

“The suicide bombings have stopped for now, for which the Greens are thankful. However, it is going to be hard to stop them resuming if Israeli troops continue their occupation of Palestinian territories,” said Mr Locke.