Dear Mr McCully
Thank you for your work on UN Security Council Resolution 2334 condemning the Israeli settlements as ‘a flagrant violation of international law’ and to remind the international community of the need for action on matters of peace in the Middle East. The New Zealand delegation and other sponsors worked hard to secure the resolution’s passage in a difficult environment and in the face of continued expansion efforts of Israel.
We received an immediate response to the resolution from Constantine Dabbagh retired executive director of our partner the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugees Gaza. Constantine who visited Aotearoa New Zealand in 2010 wrote in ‘appreciation and gratitude … for the firm stand of New Zealand… on the issue of the illegal establishment of Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories’. He expressed his ‘thanks and hope that the international community would begin to understand the need to be fair and unbiased in order to end the almost 50-year-old occupation to enable us to restore our freedom and for both sides to live in an atmosphere of peace and spare bloodshed.’
The persistence of New Zealand in this matter over its time on the Security Council is to be commended. As Gerard van Bohemen noted in his introduction to the discussion, it was the first draft to reach the Council in the past eight years. The subsequent reaction of the Israeli prime minister shows how necessary such a reminder of previous UN resolutions is to a government that has actively encouraged new settlements. Israel has continued to ignore the fundamental human rights of Palestinians and their right of return to their own lands.
Since 1949 CWS has supported the Department of Service to Palestinian Refugee in Galilee, Gaza, Jerusalem, Jordan and Lebanon, providing relief, education and medical care to Palestinian and Syrian refugees and advocating for peace with justice. CWS is grateful for matching NZDRP funding for their work in Jordan and Lebanon.
We will look for the three monthly reports mandated in the resolution in the hope that the UN will exert further pressure on Israel to remove illegal settlements and respect international law. We hope there will also be some redress for the devastating bombing of Gaza in 2014.
10 January 2017