On 24 December 2016 I heard the news that a United Nations resolution had condemned the Israeli construction of illegal settlements in the disputed territories. Accompanying it was the news that Israel was taking retaliatory measures against the nations that sponsored the resolution.
The recalling of ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal was petulant, bullying behaviour by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has said from the outset he has no desire for a peace with Palestine. New Zealand, which has a history of diplomatic ruptures with Israel, will survive this just as it survived the fallout from the Mossad forging New Zealand passports in 2004.
New Zealand has a largely good record on the subject of Israel and Palestine. It has always seen a two state solution as the only sustainable way forward, regardless of who has been in Government. This National led Government to its credit has been no exception to the rule. New Zealand led the voting in favour of the resolution that enable Israel to become a nation in 1948 when other nations were having second thoughts.
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 was passed by 14 votes with 1 abstention (United States). It condemned the Israeli construction of illegal settlements on disputed lands claimed by Palestine, calling for the immediate halt to construction and forbade the building of new settlements.
Contrary to what Mr Netanyahu believes, there is also a segment in it which demands that Palestine maintain efforts to stop militant groups Hamas and Hezbollah launching attacks on Israel. The last paragraph of Page 1 reads:
Recalling also the obligation under the Quartet roadmap for the Palestinian Authority Security Forces to maintain effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantling terrorist capabilities, including the confiscation of illegal weapons,
Condemning all acts of violence against civilians, including acts of terror, as well as all acts of provocation, incitement and destruction,
It should be pointed out that contrary to what some on the left believe, the Hezbollah and Hamas rocket attacks, must be as terrifying as they are destructive. Whilst the Israeli Iron Dome anti-missile/rocket system will down 98% of the rockets fired, the ones that get through arrive with very little warning, are not targetted to hit anything in particular and almost always strike civilian targets. The rockets are increasing in reliability, range and destructive power.
I support the right of Israel to exist within its 1967 borders. Within these borders it has the absolute right of self defence that every other nation has. Prior to the Six Day War (5-10 June 1967), Israel was within it legitimate borders as set out by the United Nations resolution. It had not annexed any land at that point as it did in the 1967 Six Day War, the 1973 Yom Kippur War and since then by stealth using the construction of illegal settlements. The second sentence of the resolution reads thus:
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
For me religion is not a valid justification for Israel’s conduct on the world stage, because if one party or another uses religion as a justification every other religion in fairness should be allowed to as well. Millions will try to use it in justifying their standpoint, but the only justifiable stand point for me is international law and what I call “common decency” which transcends all ethnicities, nationalities, genders, religions, political ideologies and so forth.
This is why I am proud to say New Zealand was a co-sponsor of Resolution 2334. It was the right thing to do.