The United Nations Security Council has reaffirmed that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.   

The resolution put forward by four elected members – New Zealand, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela, was the first action taken by the Security Council on the Middle East Peace Process in almost eight years.    

In passing Resolution 2334, the Security Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard.  

The Security Council also called for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians, for both parties to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric and lay the groundwork for a return to negotiations. 

The resolution was adopted with 14 members of the Security Council voting in favour and the United States abstaining.  The Security Council chamber broke into rare applause following the vote.  

Foreign Minister Murray McCully welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2334, saying “New Zealand voted for and co-sponsored the resolution because it was consistent with long-held New Zealand policy positions on the Palestinian question”.   

Speaking after the vote, New Zealand’s Permanent Representative Gerard van Bohemen told the Security Council “every settlement creates false hope for the settlers that the land will one day be part of a greater Israel. Every settlement takes land away from Palestinians needing homes or farmland or roads.  Today’s resolution provides important signals to the parties and to the international community about the way forward.” 

New Zealand worked throughout its two-year term on the Security Council to advance a resolution on the Middle East Peace Process, one of the most long-standing and unresolved issues on the Council’s agenda.