New Zealand foreign minister defends UN resolution vote


SYDNEY (JTA) — The foreign minister of New Zealand said his country’s vote for the anti-settlements resolution at the United Nations was consistent with its policy toward Israeli settlements.

“For the whole of New Zealand’s two-year term on the Security Council, the Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator have expressed alarm that the forces of incitement and violence and the relentless progress of the settlement program were undermining the two-state solution,” Murray McCullay wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in the New Zealand Herald.

New Zealand was one of the four sponsors of U.N. Security Council resolution 2334, which calls for a halt of development of Israeli settlements and the reestablishing of the pre-1967 war borders. The other sponsors were Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal.

The resolution passed late last month by a vote of 14-0 with one abstention, the United States.

In the op-ed, McCullay wrote, “At the heart of this whole debate is whether we will see a future in which two states, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace and security. This two-state solution has been the accepted basis for resolving the Palestinian question for many decades now, enshrined in various negotiated accords and UN Security Council resolutions, and the focus for several unsuccessful attempts to broker final agreement between the parties.

He wrote that the resolution “reinforces the international community’s commitment to this negotiated outcome.” He added that the measure “condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two-state solution,” citing incitement, acts of violence and terror against civilians on both sides, “and the ongoing settlements program, which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank.”

He added that New Zealand would not have supported the resolution if the “misleading and irresponsible claims made by critics of the resolution” were true. Among the claims are that it predetermines negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, prevents Israelis from visiting Jewish holy sites, and changes the legal status of the West Bank.

If the claims were true, he added, the “U.S. would most certainly not have allowed the resolution to pass.”

Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand was recalled to Jerusalem following the vote.

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