Two state solution disappearing because of settlements: New Zealand

March 15, 2016 by J-Wire Staff
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New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Murray McCully has told the Lowy Institute in Sydney that Israel’s settlement activities are behind the disappearing of the viability of the two state solution.

Murray McCully addresses the Lowy Institute Photo: The Lowy Institute

Murray McCully addresses the Lowy Institute Photo: The Lowy Institute

In his address the minister said: “We also want to see the UN Security Council shoulder its responsibilities on the Middle East Peace Process.

It has been seven years since the Council has even passed a resolution on this question.

We keep being told that “the time is not right” and “the parties are not ready.

But while we wait, 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.

This question now looms as a serious challenge to the credibility of the Council.

We recognise that as elected members we all have to play our part.

That is why, last year, frustrated by the Council’s lack of resolve, New Zealand circulated a draft resolution to try to find a pathway to bring the parties back to the negotiating table.

Faced with the reality that a resolution would not succeed we agreed to wait.

Now the situation on the ground has deteriorated and the settlement activity has continued.

As an elected member of the Council, we have a responsibility to make contributions.

So we are again looking at draft text for a resolution, and we are talking to parties more closely engaged in the issue to encourage them to act.

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.”

President of the Zionist Federation of Australia Dr Danny Lamm told J-Wire: “The New Zealand  Foreign Minister is unfortunately misguided and in his attempt 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. Arafat then 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.

Rob Berg, president of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand, added: “Unfortunately Mr McCully is so far removed from reality, that it is real concern. He buys into the whole ‘everything is Israel’s fault’ mentality and never pulls the Palestinians to task. Biased and incorrect statements like this will not help bring peace, nor will they make New Zealand the ‘honest broker’ they wish to be seen as.”

Colin Rubenstein, the executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council added: “We recognise the good intentions of Foreign Minister McCully, and fully share his desire to see negotiations on a two-state outcome to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict resume as soon as possible.

However, he is not only incorrect to claim that “the viability of the two state solution is disappearing as a consequence of Israeli settlement activity,” he risks counter-productively damaging the very goal he seeks – renewed negotiations – by making this mistaken claim.  New settlements are not being constructed, the rate of construction in settlements has actually been much lower than the historic average over recent years, and Israel has over the past few years introduced two major freezes related to settlements without  regenerating productive negotiations.

The Palestinian side is refusing to negotiate without preconditions – as Israel has repeatedly invited them to do – and endorsing false Palestinian claims about settlements, and apparently calling for the UN to likewise do so, will only guarantee that this unhelpful situation continues.”

Comments

7 Responses to “Two state solution disappearing because of settlements: New Zealand”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    I wish Colin Rubenstein would not continue to pave the way in response to these kind of blatant biasses by foreign government ministers, by giving the automatic first few lines of ‘buttering up’before going on to criticise. It’s time to state it as it is. We have nothing in common with McMully’s take on the situation, so let’s not pretend otherwise. And, yes, I do understand about diplomacy and the need for it sometimes. This is not the time.

  2. david singer says:

    Mr McCully

    You are aware of course that the Jewish-Arab conflict has been raging unresolved for about 100 years and should have been settled over 50 years ago if the Arabs had not rejected every peace proposal put to them during that period.

    Could you please therefore answer these questions:

    1. Why was there no peace when 78% of the territory of Palestine was set aside for the Arabs of Palestine in 1922 and the Jews were left to reconstitute their national home in the remaining 22%?

    2. Why was there no peace when the Peel Commission in 1937 recommended the Partition of the land comprised in the Mandate?

    3. Why was there no peace when the UN recommended the Partition of the land comprised in the Mandate into a Jewish State and an Arab State in 1947?

    4. Why was there no peace when the Arabs could have created the “two state solution” – you seem so anxious to see come to fruition – at any time between 1948-1967 with the stroke of an Arab League pen when there were no Jews living in the West Bank and Gaza as they all had been driven out in the 1947 War?

    I agree with your statements:
    “We also want to see the UN Security Council shoulder its responsibilities on the Middle East Peace Process. It has been seven years since the Council has even passed a resolution on this question.”

    “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.”

    Mr McCully – here is something really important the Security Council can do to end the Jewish-Arab conflict. Get the Security Council to resolve that Israel and Jordan sit down in direct negotiations chaired by Ban ki-Moon to resolve the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jordan and Israel – the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine.

    Two peoples – the Jews and the Arabs – need two states – not three – in former Palestine.

    Sounds simple? It is and you and your fellow Security Council members can make it happen. Roll up your sleeves and get on with it.

    Stop wringing your hands and start drafting an appropriate resolution to give final effect to what the League of Nations gave unanimous approval to in 1922 – which the UN has confirmed under article 80 of the UN Charter.

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      David,

      I am sure that MrMcCully, like his master, the NZ prime minister, is perfectly aware of the validity of the iron-clad logic of your evidence-based analysis and conclusions.
      But what makes you think that these honourable gentlemen will be convinced by anything other than “business opportunities” (Ms Bishop’s quaint term) in Iran and lucre from Iran?

      If the USA does not veto a SC resolution that further jeopardises Israel’s legal rights and security, will international sanctions against Israel be applied?
      If so, how will Israel react?
      It’s always smart to pre-empt possible sanctions.
      Sanctions have failed in the cases of Iran and North Korea because they are “troublemakers.”
      Is there a lesson here?

      • david singer says:

        Leon

        You pose a number of hypothetical questions whose answers depend on what resolution the US votes in favour of.

        My own view is that if the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling on Israel and Jordan to allocate sovereignty in Judea and Samaria between their respective States by redrawing their existing internationally recognised international border in direct negotiations – Israel would indicate its willingness to meet with Jordan to try and do so.

  3. John Drinnan says:

    Common sense

  4. Leon Poddebsky says:

    But the Arab and Muslim “worlds” disagree with Mr McCully: in moments of candour, not when they are addressing outsiders, they assert that there is only one final solution, namely Israel’s dismantlement.

    I would not be surprised to learn that Mr McCully made the statement at the request of his USA colleague, Mr Kerry, who, in turn, was ordered to do so by Mr Obama.

    Mr McCully cannot possibly be so naive or misinformed or misguided or impervious to evidence as genuinely to believe what he says.

    • Michael Kuttner says:

      Leon

      I am sorry to tell you that McCully is indeed all those things that you mentioned in your last sentence. The prospect of doing lucrative business deals with Iran overrides all other considerations. Is it a coincidence that this speech by McCully has come on the tail end of a visit to NZ by the Iranian FM?

      Watch for my next op-ed. on the subject.

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