Leighton Baker, Leader of the Conservative Party of NZ:
Peace in the Middle East has proven to be an elusive goal for many world leaders. In 1948, when the land was partitioned off into 2 states, Israel and Palestine, the US hoped that it would be a peaceful solution. It was not.
The Conservative Party believes the 2 main reasons that peace has been elusive are:
1. The surrounding Arab nations never recognised Israel as a state. In 1948 they surrounded Israel and when the British mandate ended, they attacked with the goal of destroying the fledgling state. They failed and the Israeli’s gained more land.
2. The pre 1967 borders are physically indefensible for Israel. It leaves a 15 KM stretch of land from the West Bank to the sea. You could bike that in 30 minutes.
Israel is determined not to be annihilated again and will do whatever it takes to defend its people. When resolutions like 2334 are passed, it removes some of the bargaining power Israel is counting on to provide secure borders for its Citizens.
Comments like the ones from UNESCO which stated that Israel had no historical ties to Jerusalem also fuel the fires as archaeological and historical evidence points to a 3000 year connection with the land.
New Zealand was suckered into being involved in a resolution which does not recognise the bigger picture in the middle East. Whether this is because we have greater trade with the Arab nations or because of John Key’s links with Barak Obama is debatable. If we as a nation truly want to see Peace in the middle East then we need to apologise to Israel for sponsoring Resolution 2334, and we need to be willing to host direct talks between the two nations so that between them they can secure a future for their citizens.
As the UN gathers in France again this week, it needs to acknowledge that it created the problem when it gave Israel land that was indefensible. It is a bit rich then to condemn them for trying to protect their citizens.
We need to become part of the solution, not the problem.
Leighton Baker Ph 021361879