Since the beginning of the Arab – Israeli conflict, New Zealand has sought to approach the issue even-handedly, seeking a solution that provided for a Jewish/Israeli and a Palestinian state on the land of the former British mandate of Palestine. This policy has its origins in our commitment to the 1947 United Nations (UN) partition resolution on Palestine (Jewish state, Arab state, and internationalisation of Jerusalem) and the 1967 UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution on the need for a just settlement and Israel’s withdrawal from occupied territories.
The policy has been underpinned through contributions to the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO) since 1954 and to the Sinai Multinational Force and Observers (MFO) since 1982. We have also core funded the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
New Zealand continues to advocate for a balanced and constructive resolution of interests, based on the need for a lasting two-state settlement in accordance with UNSC resolutions and subsequent agreements between the two parties. We have sought in our statements in the United Nations to draw attention to the rights and responsibilities of both sides. In particular, while constantly advocating the need for a peaceful two-state settlement, New Zealand has expressed strong opposition to ongoing acts of violent resistance against Israel, while underlining Israel’s own responsibility to act lawfully and with restraint.
New Zealand is prepared to speak out against actions by any party that are likely to have contravened international law. These include rocket attacks by Hamas and/or other Palestinian militant groups against Israel. Equally, we have spoken out against actions by Israel, including the blockade of the Gaza Strip, and expansion of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
This carefully balanced position is consistent with New Zealand’s international reputation for fair-mindedness. It reflects the value we, as a small country, place on the international rule of law.
Positions New Zealand takes on resolutions within the United Nations reflect this even-handed, balanced and constructive approach. We acknowledge that, ultimately, a lasting two-state settlement is something that will have to be negotiated between the two principle parties. But the UN and its members have a role to play in promoting dialogue to encourage that negotiated settlement. There is also an important role to play by the UN development and humanitarian agencies in addressing the severe humanitarian hardships, and growing health-related problems, among the Palestinian people, especially women and children.
New Zealand therefore supports UN resolutions that advance the two-state solution, uphold international law, including human rights and humanitarian law, or call for humanitarian assistance.