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Violence and settlements are obstacles to peace

9 February 2005

Hon Matt Robson MP, Progressive Deputy Leader

Violence, illegal settlements, and land grab are obstacles to peace

President George Bush has an historic opportunity to be the American leader to help deliver a sustainable and just peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Progressive MP Matt Robson said today.

"To succeed he will need to win the Israeli government's commitment to abandon the expansion of its illegal settlements on the Palestine West Bank and put a halt to its land grab via the massive wall it is building through Palestinian farms and towns.

"Mr. Bush also has to convince the Israeli government that it is in everyone's long-term interests for Israel to at last offer fair compensation to Palestinian people displaced into refugee camps in surrounding nations, or alternatively the opportunity to return to their historic towns and villages," Matt Robson said.

"Random acts of violence which kill, injure and hurt innocent people, committed by extremists on both sides to this conflict over the past century or so, are of course another obstacle to lasting peace.

"And the most effective way of undermining terrorists' recruitment campaign is to first address the underlying injustice of dispossession and statelessness," he said.

Under international law, the Government of Israel is responsible for the well-being, security and human rights of the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, including the Old City of Jerusalem, which have all been under effective Israeli military control since the 1967 invasion of those territories by Israel.

The Progressive MP chairs the New Zealand Parliament-Palestine Legislative Council Friendship Group of MPs.

In 1947, New Zealand made a commitment at the United Nations to ensure that the partition of Palestine, in order to create a new state of Israel in a portion of it, would not be done at the expense of the Palestinian people.

ENDS

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