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Letter to Murray McCully: Vote on Status of Palestine

There has been some news coverage here of the big debate in Australia and Europe over which way Western nations will be voting at the UN this week on the status of Palestine. But there has been little coverage of New Zealand's stance.

The latest news is that France has now joined the several European countries voting in favour of the motion. Hopefully New Zealand will not join the US and Israel in voting against the motion, or Australia in abstaining.

This vote is both controversial and important in New Zealand too. If you want comment on it I am available: 021-593-399. Here is the email I sent to the Minister of Foreign Affairs yesterday on the matter.

Best wishes,
Keith Locke
Former Green Party Foreign Affairs spokesperson

27 November 2012

Hon Murray McCully,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Parliament Buildings,

Dear Mr McCully,

I am writing to ask that New Zealand vote in the UN General Assembly this week in favour of the motion that Palestine's status at the UN be raised from an "entity" to a "non-member state". This is what the Palestinians (including both Fatah and Hamas) desire and the passage of the motion will give the Palestinians greater standing, including the to the International Criminal Court – an important matter given Israel's ongoing gross violation of the rights of the Palestinian people. The enhanced recognition of Palestine by the UN will also put more pressure on the Israel to enter serious negotiations with Palestinian leaders.

In making you decision I ask you to take into account two developments. One is the growing support (noted in recent public opinion polls in Europe) for a Palestinian state. It is likely that such a shift in public opinion has also occurred in New Zealand in reaction to Israel's horrific assault on the people of Gaza. Secondly, it is clear from news report that the Arab governments (or more broadly the Islamic governments) won't take kindly to a New Zealand vote against the motion – or even an abstention.

This is a key test for your government. Will you stand alongside Israel (and its main backer the United States) in the UN voting, or will you vote with the great majority of the world's governments who want justice and freedom for Palestine?


Keith Locke


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