New Zealand's vote for Palestine at UN

Respect for the provisions of international law that already contain the basis for a solution are far more conducive to the achievement of peace and stability than the coercive path that has proved itself so sterile.

The Palestine Human Rights Campaign welcomes New Zealand's vote in favour of a United Nations resolution giving non-member observer status to Palestine. New Zealand's vote for the resolution was, however, not wholehearted. Our Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully made the reservation that his government “. . . is under no illusions as to the utility of a UN resolution" and that, “It will solve nothing. But in the absence of the direct talks we have called for, we will deal with the UN resolution on its merits.”

That statement is of course pointless because if McCully believes that the UN resolution solves nothing then plainly he regards it as having no merits. Prior to the vote at the UN, 75% of the world’s population, 132 countries, had already formally recognised the State of Palestine so New Zealand was finding itself at odds with the majority of world opinion.

Israel was conditionally admitted to the UN under a requirement to implement General Assembly resolution 194, including the Palestinian right of return and the role of the UN in facilitating peace in the region. The international community demonstrably has a clear moral and legal obligation to support the Palestinians in their quest for self-determination. McCully's insistence on requiring defenceless Palestinians to negotiate their freedom directly with their oppressor has achieved nothing but an agonising delay of over half a century at great advantage to Israel.

Nevertheless, we hope that New Zealand's vote for the resolution signals the beginnings of a genuine shift in policy. Respect for the provisions of international law that already contain the basis for a solution are far more conducive to the achievement of peace and stability than the coercive path that has proved itself so sterile.

Leslie Bravery,
Palestine Human Rights Campaign www.palestine.org.nz

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