Government urged to change vote on Israel’s illegal occupation

Tēnā koe Minita Mahuta,

Justice for Palestine urges you as the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the New Zealand Government to vote in favour of the resolution referring the legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestine to the International Court of Justice when it comes before the UN General Assembly on 12 December 2022.

The Special Political and Decolonisation Committee (SPDC) Resolution ‘Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem’ (A/C.4/77/L.12 – available here)
seeks, among other things, an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) (para 18):

(a) On the legal consequences arising from the ongoing violation by Israel of the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, from its prolonged occupation, settlement, and annexation of the Palestinian territory since
1967; and
(b) How does this affect the legal status of the occupation, and what are the legal consequences that arise for all States and the UN from this status?

We were disappointed to learn that New Zealand abstained on the vote on this resolution in November 2022 on the basis that it didn’t have enough time to consider the resolution. The matters traversed in the resolution were not new,
they have been addressed in numerous UN resolutions.

New Zealand professes to support a rules based international order that is fundamental to the protection and realisation of the human rights of all peoples, but its voting record on the situation in Palestine does not reflect this. If New Zealand is going to act in accordance with its professed values it needs to take meaningful action to hold Israel to account for its long-running, widespread violations of international law at every opportunity.

The SPDC Resolution provides an important opportunity for New Zealand to support efforts to hold Israel to account and to maintain the integrity of the international law system, including the ICJ. This is not a matter on which New Zealand should be sitting on the fence.

The new Israeli coalition government has indicated its intention to include illegal settler outposts in the West Bank into Israel proper, to re-establish settlements in the northern West Bank which were evacuated during the 2005 disengagement of Gaza and to expand settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.

We are watching the ongoing colonisation of Palestine in real time. This is a significant opportunity to stand up for the human rights of the occupied Palestinian people, and not allow the violent and illegal Israeli occupation to continue with impunity.

There will be no peaceful resolution to the situation in Palestine, whether a two-state solution or otherwise, until there is justice for Palestinians. Justice for Palestine strongly urges the New Zealand Government to change its vote, and vote in favour of the resolution on 12 December 2022.

We look forward to your response, but most importantly seeing Aotearoa New Zealand voting for Palestine at the United Nations.

Nāku noa, nā

Kate Stone
Co-Convenor, on behalf of Justice for Palestine

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