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UNGA vote on Palestine

28 November 2012

Hon Murray McCully

Minister of Foreign Affairs
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

m.mccully@ministers.govt.nz

Dear Minister


I am writing to ask that New Zealand vote against the motion in the UN General Assembly that Palestine's status at the UN be raised from an "entity" to a "non-member state".

In making your decision, please consider the following points:

[1] It is a fiction to agree to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state when it does not meet the requirements of a state in international law (Montevideo Convention). This is even more the case when the two parts of the Palestinian entity are at loggerheads (the Cairo reconciliation agreement (4 May 2011) and then the Doha declaration (6 February 2012) not having been implemented).

[2] The unilateral declaration contravenes the 1993 Oslo Agreement, and the UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338 which are the bedrock of any final status agreement.

[3] The change in UN status will do nothing to bring Israel and the Palestinians closer to the resolution of conflict between them which New Zealand has often stated is a requirement to bring peace to the Middle East. This is even more the case when the Palestinians have already said that they will use their enhanced UN status to prosecute actions against Israel. Enhanced UN status without a peaceful resolution to a long-lasting conflict will achieve nothing positive.

[4] The status of Palestinian refugees and their descendants outside the PA Authority area and Gaza will be compromised, as will the activities of UNRWA to which New Zealand has been a steadfast supporter.

[5] There is already Israeli government and majority Israeli public support for a two-state solution, but this is likely to be diminished by a unilateral Palestinian action with antagonistic outcomes.

On principle, New Zealand should not ally itself to a vote with such negative outcomes, regardless of its likely success. We have a fine tradition (starting with the League of Nations in 1936) of voting on principle rather than simply going along with the majority.

Yours sincerely

David Zwartz

Former Honorary Consul of Israel

ENDS

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