Resolution 2334 – Preserving the two state solution…writes Murray McCully

January 12, 2017 by Murray McCully
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The spirit of unanimity in which the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 2334 on December 23 stands in sharp contrast to the condemnation and accusations that have dominated subsequent commentary from Israel and that country’s supporters.

Murray McCully and Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: GPO

New Zealanders deserve to know why the issue of settlements has become so challenging, and why it came before the council in December 2016.

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,

The most recent attempt was led by US Secretary of State John Kerry. After showing great promise those talks broke down in 2014.

No one should underestimate the challenges associated with negotiating the terms for a two state solution. Significant compromises are required of both sides, and the domestic political challenges for both are formidable.

But there has been agreement in principle on the key components, security guarantees for Israel and a state for Palestinians based on the 1967 borders but with negotiated land swaps, including a negotiated approach to managing Jerusalem’s holy sites. Resolution 2334 reinforces the international community’s commitment to this negotiated outcome.

Resolution 2334 condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two state solution: incitement and acts of violence and terror against civilians of all sides, and the ongoing settlements programme which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank.

There have been some misleading and irresponsible claims made by critics of the resolution: that it somehow predetermines negotiations between the parties, affects the rights of Israelis to access certain religious sites, or changes the legal status of the West Bank. None of those claims is correct. New Zealand would not have supported it if those assertions were correct, and the US would most certainly not have allowed the resolution to pass.

The focal point for much of the critics’ anger is the direct call for a halt to the settlements. But that call by the council was clear and deliberate because continuing settlement growth at anything like the current rate will render the two state solution a purely academic concept. There will be nothing left to negotiate.

The other reality is that without a two state solution, demographic and security considerations will pose a serious challenge to the future character of Israel. Kerry put it starkly in his statement the week after the adoption of Resolution 2334, “If the choice is one state, Israel can either be Jewish or democratic – it cannot be both – and it won’t ever really be at peace.”

Those who doubt the seriousness of the settlements issue should read the report of the Middle East Quartet of July 1, 2016. The Quartet comprises the European Union, Russia, the United Nations and the United States. Its report outlines in a careful and factual way the impact of ongoing settlement activity, and more recent moves by the Israeli Parliament to retrospectively legalise settlements developed in contravention of Israeli law.

In Israel this is a politically difficult topic. The settler movement is very influential in the current government, and its leaders occupy a number of key Cabinet posts.

For the whole of New Zealand’s two year term on the Security Council, the Secretary-General and his Special Co-ordinator have expressed alarm that the forces of incitement and violence and the relentless progress of the settlement programme were undermining the two state solution.

Some quite exotic theories have been advanced as to why this resolution was dealt with in the final month of New Zealand’s council membership. The truth is: the United States would not accept any resolution on this topic until after US presidential elections in November. The domestic politics would have been too difficult.

In late 2014 three quarters of the countries in the United Nations voted for New Zealand’s election to the Security Council. They did so because New Zealand has a long standing and respected record for fairness. They also knew of New Zealand’s long standing bi-partisan support for the two state solution as a basis for resolving the Palestinian question.

Against that background it would be very difficult to explain why we would not support a resolution seeking to reinforce the notion of two states living peacefully, side by side, and which called for an end to the incitement, violence and the settlements that pose such a serious threat to it.

Murray McCully is New Zealand’s Foreign Minister


13 Responses to “Resolution 2334 – Preserving the two state solution…writes Murray McCully”
  1. David Samson says:

    I am surprised that trash like this is being published.

  2. david singer says:

    Mr McCully

    You state:
    “Those who doubt the seriousness of the settlements issue should read the report of the Middle East Quartet of July 1, 2016.”

    Strange that you fail to mention the following in the same Report:

    “Gaza and the West Bank should be reunified under a single, legitimate and democratic Palestinian authority on the basis of the PLO platform and Quartet principles and the rule of law, including control over all armed personnel and weapons in accordance with existing agreements.”

    The Quartet is referring to a “democratic Palestinian authority”.

    Resolution 2334 is referring to “two democratic states”

    Why aren’t you?

  3. Eleonora Mostert says:

    Someone just shoot Mr McCully please.

  4. david singer says:

    Mr McCully

    You state in your article in relation to Resolution 2334:

    “There have been some misleading and irresponsible claims made by critics of the resolution”

    I have criticised the resolution as being illegal in international law because it violates article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

    You can read my reasons in this article:

    Are you prepared to initiate action in the Security Council to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to deal with my claim?

  5. david singer says:

    Mr McCully

    Resolution 2234 which you sponsored refers to “Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem,” on three occasions.

    In 1967 Article 24 of the PLO Charter provided:
    “This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields.”

    Given this declaration by the PLO – could you please advise on what basis Resolution 2334 – which you sponsored – could state that the West Bank was Palestinian territory in 1967?

  6. Michael Kuttner says:

    Murray McCully is a classic example of someone who never wants to be confused by facts. The fact that he still prattles on about 1967 borders when they are clearly NOT borders and his hallucinatory belief that the hate inciting and terror promoting PA will suddenly transform into a peace loving, tolerant and democratic State are symptoms of his delusional situation. The fact that the PM and his Parliamentary colleagues support his warped views merely indicates the pathetic ignorance now prevailing. Of course the media love this.

    Will McCully be whooping it up in Paris? Keep watching.

    • david singer says:


      Simply amazing that Mr Mc Cully can still use the term “1967 borders” when the Resolution he sponsored – and presumably read very carefully – correctly refers to “the 1967 lines”

      I have no doubt Mr Mcully will be in Paris.

      I hope he has the time to respond in any address at the Paris Parley to the comments posted by me and you and hopefully others who are similarly concerned at his sponsorship of and voting for Rsolution 2334.

  7. david singer says:

    Mr Mcully

    Your article mentions “two states” on nine separate occasions but fails to include the word “democratic” which was expressly stated in the preamble to Resolution 2334:
    “Reiterating its [Security Council] vision of a region where two democratic States, Israel and Palestine, live side by side in peace within secure and recognized borders,”

    Your colleague John Kerry also suffers from the same problem.

    In his speech on 28 December he mentioned “two states” on twenty nine separate occasions without mentioning the requirement that they be “democratic”

    Sir – could you please confirm that when you are talking about “two states” you mean “two democratic states”?

    Would it not be better in future for you to use the term “the two democratic states solution”?

    It is only one extra word but it makes a hell of a difference.

    Don’t you agree?

    • Leon Poddebsky says:

      David, the “New Zealander’s” blather is an amalgam of typical UN hypocrisy, double-talk and newspeak.
      As for any Arab state being or becoming democratic, the probability is about equal to the probability that the Maori People will ever regain their indigenous sovereignty of which they were dispossessed by British colonialists.
      And anyway, since when has New Zealand or any other Western state refused to profit from any “business opportunity” with non-democracies?
      They are falling over themselves in the scramble for Iranian money, much of which has now been provided by the New Zealander’s mate, that great democrat, Mr President Obama. Business is booming with all the Gulf states.

      Isn’t it heart-warming to see the “do-gooder” being so concerned for “the good of Israel,” just like his friends, Obama and Kerry, and unlike the People of Israel, who don’t know what’s good for them. Sounds like the Mafia expression, ” an offer you can’t refuse.”

      • david singer says:


        Mr McCully needs to confirm that Resolution 2334 has as its objective the creation of a democratic State of Palestine living in peace alongside the democratic State of Israel.

        The Paris Conference needs to confirm this is the objective that their talks are focusing on.

        President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry need to confirm this is what they mean when they use the term “two-state solution”

        Indeed Mahomoud Abbas and Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi must commit to the two democratic states solution.

        Come to think of it so should our former Foreign Minister and President of Labor Friends of Palestine – Bob Carr.

        The other members of the Security Council must likewise confirm this is the solution proposed in Resolution 2334.

        If any of these players obfuscate on this being the solution then bye bye Resolution 2334.

        Speak out ladies and gentlemen – and soon.

        • Leon Poddebsky says:

          No interpretation or gloss on the resolution can erase its malevolent intent for it is rotten at its core.
          It is an historic indelible stain on Western civilisation.
          That civilisation couldn’t care less if their intended illegitimate state is democratic or not; their sole objective is to endanger the lives of Jews, using Hamas, the ‘Palestinian’ “Authority”and others as proxies to do the dirty work for them.

          And even if their pet state were to be democratic, its voters would always endorse the agenda of Hamas and the PA.

          The PLO’s long-standing plan for the phased annihilation of Israel is in top gear.

          • david singer says:


            The first thing to establish is that everyone is talking about the same end goal – a democratic State of Palestine alongside the democratic State of Israel

            If the players cannot publicly declare this is the final outcome they all want to achieve then there is no point in having any negotiations at all.

            At the moment listening to McCully, Kerry and reading the draft text of decisions to be taken at the Paris Conference this is by no means what is contemplated.

            it is a fundamental question to be answered before any negotiations take place – a democratic State of Palestine or an any kind of State of Palestine?

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