New Zealand's Foreign Minister defends UN vote

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister says his country voting in favor of Resolution 2334 was consistent with its policy toward "settlements".

Ben Ariel and JTA ,

Flag of New Zealand
Flag of New Zealand

New Zealand’s Foreign Minister on Thursday defended his country’s vote in favor of the anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334, insisting the vote was consistent with New Zealand’s policy toward Israeli “settlements”.

New Zealand was one of the four co-sponsors of the resolution adopted last month by the UN Security Council. The resolution passed with a majority of 14-0, with the United States abstaining and thus allowing it to be adopted.

Reports following the vote suggested that New Zealand promoted the resolution and voted in favor of it due to pressure from the British government.

In an op-ed published Thursday in the New Zealand Herald and quoted by JTA, Foreign Minister Murray McCullay wrote, “For the whole of New Zealand's two-year term on the Security Council, the Secretary-General and his Special Coordinator have expressed alarm that the forces of incitement and violence and the relentless progress of the settlement program were undermining the two-state solution.”

McCullay continued, “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.”

He wrote that the resolution "reinforces the international community's commitment to this negotiated outcome." He added that the measure "condemns the obstacles to a negotiated two-state solution," citing incitement, acts of violence and terror against civilians on both sides, "and the ongoing settlements program, which carves ever more deeply into the land available for a Palestinian state on the West Bank."

McCullay further said that New Zealand would not have supported the resolution if the "misleading and irresponsible claims made by critics of the resolution" were true.

If the claims were true, he added, the "U.S. would most certainly not have allowed the resolution to pass.”

Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand was recalled to Jerusalem following the vote. In addition, Jews in New Zealand condemned their government's support for the resolution, writing to Prime Minister Bill English that the resolution "violated the right of Jewish self-determination" and required that land where there had been a continual Jewish presence for thousands of years "become Jew-free."