Hands off Yemen: US and NZ out of the Middle East

The USA has demonstrably and violently escalated tensions surrounding the blockade in the Red Sea. It has responded to Houthi actions against shipping vessels by killing Yemeni Houthis, whose actions are a result of Israel’s ongoing genocide and occupation of Palestine and the withholding of aid to Palestinians. New Zealand, along with the UK and Australia, did not hesitate to join the US’s further escalation in Yemen.

New Zealand signing onto the USA’s letter, a “final warning” to the Houthis, demonstrates political support for the killing of anyone who obstructs a supply chain, even as an explicit act of defiance against genocide. We condemn the New Zealand government’s decision to send troops to the Middle East in support of the US and Israel.

The government shows hypocrisy when crying about the breach of international law by the Houthi actions while remaining tight-lipped about Israel’s genocidal war against Palestine. The genocide of Palestinians has, thus far, not elicited such a full-throated condemnation from ruling class of New Zealand. Whether helmed by the Labour Party or the National Party, New Zealand has affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself with lethal force against a threat emanating from Palestinian territory that it occupies. Not only are such assertions markers of New Zealand’s unshakeable alliance with USA’s geopolitical and military allies, but they are also inconsistent with international human rights law under the Geneva Conventions.

The National Party has also committed to exploring the benefits of joining the AUKUS defence pact. New Zealand is being drawn into closer proximity with outright warmongering and violent escalation in the US-Israel genocide of Palestinians, as well as rising geopolitical skirmishing that threatens outright war by the US and its allies and the counter-hegemony in the Middle East of Iran and its allies. Outright inter-imperialist war will only see the international working class killing themselves  for the financial benefit of capitalists with oil and other economic interests in the Middle East. 

New Zealand has a long history of participation in imperialist belligerence through the Five Eyes intelligence alliance  and deployment of military forces to Afghanistan and Iraq.

New Zealand’s open support of American militarist aggression, such as the farcically-named Operation Prosperity Guardian in the Red Sea, demonstrate that the “free flow of commerce” and profit-making are far more worthy of protection to the ruling capitalist class than human life aid to the victims  of genocide.

New Zealand’s ruling class has long supported a two-state solution to Israel’s occupation of Palestine, as this would allow New Zealand to wash its hands of complicity in violent occupation while leaving the greater part of Israel intact. Neither a one-state or two-state solution would be a just outcome, however, without the right of return for Palestinians to their homeland. Without a revolutionary movement in the Middle East and the establishment of a workers’ state there will be no peace. While the US-backed, imperialist, apartheid state of Israel exists in its current form, there can be no liberation. 

We condemn the New Zealand government for its siding with free navigation over Palestinian lives. We call upon international union bodies to escalate their vocal solidarity with the Palestinians to actions to prevent the movement of Israeli shipping world-wide.