Six months ago just before Christmas, I and many others were absolutely delighted when the Government of New Zealand announced it had sponsored a United Nations Resolution on Palestine. The resolution (2334) called for the condemnation of the Israeli settlement building programme on lands that it has occupied since 1967. It was drawn up with the support of Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal.
It was a proud moment for New Zealand at the United Nations, coming to an end of two years as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Our neutrality had been restored and preference for a two state solution made clear.
Until this week when Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gerry Brownlee said that he did not endorse the Resolution..
I am disgusted. Israel did nothing to deserve a change of course on our part. Indeed their response was bad enough that a lot of people were wondering what else could have been done, short of outright war. It was more like a irrational spoilt brat throwing a hissy fit because the global community had put it in its place.
It is not that I hate Israel. It is not that I am anti-Semitic.
It is because since the 6 Day War in 1967, Israel has illegally occupied lands that it seized in that war and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. It is because Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has studiously ignored United Nations rulings and flagrantly contravened them when it has suited him and his party. It is because there is illegal home building going on over top of Palestinian lands that Mr Netanyahu refuses to recognize as anything but Israeli.
If Israel quit those lands and went back to its 1967 borders, I don’t think anyone would have a problem with the the wall it has also been building these last few years. I do not think the opposition against Israel would be anywhere near as strong.
I thought we were a nation that stands for the rule of law. I thought we were a nation that was built on the premise of the “fair go”, a nation that stood up for the little guy and tried to level the playing field where it could. The actions of this country in appeasing Israel by wimping out on what was initially something received very well across the board – a United Nations resolution condemning Israeli house building in the occupied territories, in settlements that have no legal right to exist – are by no means something to be proud of.
It shows that with the appointment of Gerry Brownlee as Minister of Foreign Affairs, we have a Minister who is as happy to bungle on the world stage as he is to bungle in local affairs. Mr Brownlee knew what he was doing when he refused to endorse the resolution.
Without Israel ceasing the occupation and annexation of Palestine, a two state solution is not possible. Mr Netanyahu is clearly not interested in it, as his latest demands for the dissolution of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine clearly shows.