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.”