23 Oct 2015

NZ calls for UN Israel-Palestine push

2:28 pm on 23 October 2015

New Zealand has called on the United Nations Security Council to put more pressure on Israel and Palestine to end the violence between them.

A picture taken on September 15 shows Israeli police using stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstraters in al-Wad street in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem's Old City.

Israeli police using stun grenades to disperse Palestinian demonstrators in Jerusalem's Old City on 15 September. Photo: AFP

Foreign Minister Murray McCully has told the Security Council it has to take responsibility for the failure of diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict.

Mr McCully is in New York for the council's open debate on the Middle East.

180714. Photo RNZ. Foreign Minister Murray McCully talking with media about the Mayalsia Airlines MH17 flight.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully Photo: RNZ

When New Zealand became a non-permanent member of the council at the beginning of this year, it promised to make progress on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

But the situation if anything appears to have worsened, with an upsurge in violence, particularly in Jerusalem.

In speech notes for his address to the council, Mr McCully said it was with a sense of dismay he addressed the council about the lack of progress on relations between Palestine and Israel and on the violence that had raged there in recent weeks.

"Over recent months we have been concerned to hear the ongoing repetition of a defeatist narrative that is in danger of becoming self-fulfilling: the conditions are not right; the parties are not ready.

"But if the conditions are not right for direct talks, then surely it is the Council's role to try to create the right conditions.

"If the parties are not ready, then surely the Council should tell them to get ready, help them get ready and give them a timeframe within which to get ready."

Mr McCully said New Zealand would circulate a draft resolution calling for an end to the violence.

He said it would also restate the Council's unambiguous commitment to a two-state solution and require Israel and Palestine get themselves ready to engage in peace talks.

A Palestinian youth raises a knife during clashes with Israeli security forces (unseen) in the West Bank city of Tulkarem on October 18, 2015.

A Palestinian youth raises a knife during clashes with Israeli security forces in the West Bank on 18 October. Photo: AFP

Israeli borderguards walk in front of military vehicles during clashes with Palestinian youth in the Palestinian village of al-Ram, between Jerusalem and Ramallah in the Israeli occupied West Bank, on October 22, 2015.

Israeli borderguards walk in front of military vehicles during clashes with young people in a Palestinian village in the West Bank. Photo: AFP

Mr McCully also pointed the finger at the Security Council for its role in the conflict.

"While those guilty of acts of violence must take responsibility for them, and be held to account, the Council must take responsibility for the failure of the diplomatic and political process and move to resolve it."

He said New Zealand welcomed the Council's focus on the Middle East and hoped it could find a way to extend protection to those threatened by the violence.

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