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Shovel Award: for critics of Government’s even-handed Gaza policy

A person who signs themselves as “Village Idiot” nominates for a Shovel Award those who have criticised the National government for it’s so-called lack of response to the Gaza conflict.

“Village idiot” supports this nomination by saying:

What can they do? Send troops? Sanctions? Expel the Israeli ambassador? Do we even have one? He’s been very quiet.

I think McCully’s approach is even handed and not the knee-jerk kind of reaction we might have expected from a Government beholden to the Greens.

I just cannot imagine that New Zealand can have any effective input, unless an International response is commissioned. New Zealand may fancy itself as an International peace-broker, but I think the Middle East is a bit bigger of a fish than any New Zealand initiative could fry.

New Zealand requestiing “observer status at negotiations” suggests exactly what I am saying, that NZ is actually small fry when it comes to having real value in any of these situations. It’s a far cry from helping out with Fiji’s squabbles (not that we’ve done much there) or Timor, to being of any benefit in what is probably the oldest continuous conflict in human history.

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1 Comment

  1. Harry says:

    With respect to the role of the Village Idiot, I recommend a viewing of Monty Python’s depiction of the Village Idiots on youtube – these Villiage Idiots are no fools!

    With respect to the Shovel Award the Village Idiot gave for those who have criticised the National government for its so-called lack of response to the Gaza conflict, I think there were some very good points. However, I do take issue with one point – the implication that nations such as New Zealand would be “small fry” when it comes to having “any value” for peace-brokering work in places such as the Middle East.

    With respect to International peace brokering, the reality is it does often take third party diplomacy (from small fry places such as Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Norway) – to help get the major parties to the table to talk.

    This peace brokering is seen to be of huge value to those concerned, but unlike violent conflict, these peace-broking efforts don’t normally make the news, so people often don’t know about all the work behind the scenes to broker these peace agreements.

    A recent exception was when Finland’s ex-president Martti Ahtisaari won the Nobel peace prize (2009). His successes included: peace talks in Namibia in 1989 and 1990, which the committee said “played a significant part in the establishment of Namibia’s independence”. Helping end 30 years of fighting between Aceh rebels and the Indonesian government through peace talks in Finland, and more recently, again in Finland, meetings between Iraqi Sunni and Shia groups to agree on a road map to peace.

    Finland is a small county like New Zealand but it was able to help in quite a big way.

    I think peace making diplomacy can be a way for people in small countries to contribute to international peace and also contribute to small countries having a voice in the international system where otherwise they have difficulty getting on the radar.

    For instance, I remember it being noted that it was easier for Norway to participate in international conversations after the Norwegian-mediated back channel negotiations resulted in the Oslo Accords (agreement between Israel, and Palestinian leadership).

    Yes, I know there were major problems with this agreement, but I don’t think this means we should give up. Many will be forever grateful that Ahtisaari tried to find a solution to long term conflicts despite the many difficulties and grateful also that his country Finland supported these efforts i.e. hosting of peace talks etc.