New Zealand foreign minister: Settlements stopping a two-state solution
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New Zealand foreign minister: Settlements stopping a two-state solution

(JTA) — New Zealand’s minister of foreign affairs said Israel’s settlement activities are reducing the chances of having a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

“The situation on the ground gets worse, violence has escalated, and the viability of the two-state solution is disappearing as a consequence of Israeli settlement activity,” Murray McCully said Tuesday in an address to the Lowy Institute for International Policy in Sydney.

The institute was founded by the Lowy family headed by Jewish Westfield shopping center magnate Frank Lowy, a Slovak-born Holocaust survivor who fought in the 1948 War of Independence in Israel.

McCully added that the situation in the Middle East has deteriorated over the time that the development of settlements has continued.

He said New Zealand’s Parliament “wants to see the United Nations Security Council shoulder its responsibilities on the Middle East peace process. For the council to do nothing while the scope for a two-state solution is completely undermined would be a total abrogation of its responsibilities.”

McCully said New Zealand is circulating a draft resolution that would force the Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

The president of the Zionist Federation of Australia, Dr. Danny Lamm, told JTA that McCully was “unfortunately misguided,” and in trying to promote peace “has sheeted blame on Israel when in fact there is no peace for one reason only: Israel’s enemies don’t want peace. [Former Palestinian Authority President Yasser) Arafat then [Mahmoud] Abbas have repeatedly rejected all peace offers.

“The foreign minister would do better to call on Abbas to reject violence and seek negotiation for a fair two-state solution.”