Sunday, 18 August 2019
Letter sent to British High Commissioner Print
Thursday, 12 November 2015
November 11, 2015

To: British High Commissioner,


Dear Sir,

I am a British born New Zealand resident with a long term interest in the Middle East situation. Today I came across an article written by Jonathan Owen in The Independent, describing the non-issue of entry British visas to 5 Palestinian medical specialists to attend a conference on trauma in war zones. This conference is to be held at Kingston University. The specialists are 3 doctors and a nurse who work for the Ministry of Health in Gaza and a psychologist from Bethlehem University.

This decision fills me with disgust and shame, and I request you to use your position to reverse it. The physical and psychological situation of thousands of children in Gaza, one year on from the appalling Israeli onslaught in Gaza is dire. For Britain to obstruct people who are trying to help is unconscionable. Full details are available on:

as well as

Yours sincerely,

Martin Griffiths

(MA Cantab)
Letter sent to NZ Herald Print
Monday, 17 December 2012


The Editor,

New Zealand Herald, PO Box 30, Auckland.


Dear Sir,

The excellent article by Leslie Bravery of the Palestinian Human Rights Campaign, answering the Israeli ambassador and putting the Palestinian side of the current conflict, omitted one salient point. The endless expansion of Israeli citizens only, Jewish settlements on confiscated land on the West Bank, which is being eaten away and gradually incorporated into a,"greater Israel," one hilltop at a time! Annexation by stealth, that the rest of the world, isn't supposed to notice?

That one situation alone, is a reason that a peace agreement between the two sides is impossible, as long as Netanyahu and his Likud Party colonisers, remain in power in Israel.

I am not a Hamas supporter, far from it,I abhor their methods and tactics, but can understand the anger behind the things they are doing, and their desire to hit back at their oppressors.

That Jews of all people, should become a nation of oppressive,racist, colonisers,doing to others what was done to them in our lifetimes, is absolutely disgusting and inexcusable.

Some people, including a well-known cartoonist, have been pilloried and punished for comparing Israel's land-grabbing and other occupation policies, to Apartheid in South Africa from the 1950s to the1980s. I personally can't think of a more apt comparison and if the supporters of Israel in this country want peace, and the killing to stop, they have the answer in their own hands. Lobby their government in Israel to stop the settlement building and negotiate in good faith for a just, two-state solution to this never-ending slaughter. A viable, Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, co-existing, peacefully alongside Israel. Is that too much to ask?

As far as Israel is concerned, if the jack-boot fits, they should wear it!

To counter Hamas' thuggery, they should cease being militaristic thugs themselves!


Yours sincerely,

John Watkins, Auckland

Letter to Mr McCully RE Al Mezan Press release Print
Monday, 19 January 2009
Dear Mr McCully,

    This January 12, Al Mezan Press Release deserves careful study. It shows in detail the effects of Israel's "Cast Lead" Operation in the Gaza Strip. The evidence presented here refutes the claims by Israeli political and military spokespeople that the IDF is doing its utmost to avoid civilian casualties and is acting within the framework of International Law. In particular Israel's claim that evidence for alleged war crimes is too generalised and lacks specific detail.

    I can verify much of what is contained in the Al Mezan Centre's Press Release from my own daily emailed reports gathered from many other sources. In a phone call to Jennifer Loewenstein (Associate Director of the Middle East Studies Programme at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Mezan Centre), the Director of Communications confirmed that the IDF's use of White Phosphorous has gone well beyond what is considered legally acceptable. White phosphorous has been fired intensively against civilian family homes and businesses in the crowded Jabalia refugee camp and in the small village of Khz'a, where victims of this weapon have been treated for severe burns and the effects of inhaling the chemical.

    In view of the evidence presented here and the outrage expressed by UN officials and medical personnel sharing the fate of the people of Gaza, we ask you to speak out in the name of justice and humanity. The eminent British medical journal The Lancet has felt compelled to condemn these Israeli atrocities. We find your silence incomprehensible.

Leslie Bravery
It's the Fourth Geneva Convention, Mr McCully Print
Wednesday, 07 January 2009

    Murray McCully's refusal to “take sides” over Israel's war crimes in the Gaza Strip is a dereliction of duty and a disgrace to New Zealand. The Fourth Geneva Convention (1949) expects more than mere condemnation of grave breaches of international humanitarian law.

Article 146 states:

    “Each High Contracting Party shall be under the obligation to search for persons alleged to have committed, or to have ordered to be committed, such grave breaches, and shall bring such persons, regardless of their nationality, before its own courts. It may also, if it prefers, and in accordance with the provisions of its own legislation, hand such persons over for trial to another High Contracting Party concerned, provided such High Contracting Party has made out a ' prima facie ' case. Each High Contracting Party shall take measures necessary for the suppression of all acts contrary to the provisions of the present Convention other than the grave breaches defined in the following Article.”

    Speaking out in condemnation of Israel's behaviour and in support of UN draft resolutions that require Israel to obey international humanitarian law is the very least the Foreign Minister could do to show New Zealand's abhorrence.

    It is worth noting also the huge chasm that lies between Israel's conduct as a nation state and what is required of it in civilised international agreements. Consider Israel's self-styled 'targeted assassinations'.

Article 146 states that:

    “In all circumstances, the accused persons shall benefit by safeguards of proper trial and defence, which shall not be less favourable than those provided by Article 105 and those following of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War of August 12, 1949.”

    At 12:30, on January 2, 2009 in an assassination strike against Hamas leading figure, Dr. Nizar Rayyan, Israeli F16s destroyed two houses in the Jabalya refugee camp, killing 16 members of one family, including four women and 11 children. Dozens of civilians were injured and neighbouring houses were damaged.

    Israel does not consider itself bound by any agreement, convention or UN resolution with which it disagrees. Israel's conduct as a rogue state and the West's failure to condemn the cruel injustices it inflicts on a captive people leads to despair and desperation. The Zionist state's lawlessness plays into the hands of extremists, is destabilising, and imperils world peace and stability more than any other single factor.

Leslie Bravery