New Zealand Proposes Palestine To Be A State, Alongside Israel In UN Security Council

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Smoke and sand are seen following an Israeli air strike in Gaza August 25, 2014.
Smoke and sand are seen following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza August 25, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 2,115 people, most of them civilians and more than 400 of them children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed. Reuters

New Zealand has proposed a two-state solution to finally end the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Since taking its place in the UN Security Council, New Zealand is now actively participating for the first time in two decades in an open debate about the conflict.

New Zealand's representative to the council had criticised the UN for failing to show leadership in the debate and abdicating its duties. Jim McLay told the Security Council that it needed to do more to put an end to the 60-year conflict. He said the most realistic solution would be to recognise two states in which Palestine will be recognised as an independent state alongside Israel, TVNZ reported.

McLay told fellow members of the council that the current arguments no longer add value and purpose to the matter. He said while New Zealand strong supports the existence of Israel, declaring Palestine as its own state based on a border set in pre-1967 may be the only way to achieve long-lasting peace.

New Zealand's proposal came at a crucial time when talks of a resolution between Israel and Palestine were rising among Arab states. It was previously reported that they were being asked to resubmit a resolution for Israel to withdraw from the territories it occupied after the 1967 war.

International media said Arab leaders have been working on another plan after Palestinian's proposal was voted down in December. However, Israel ambassador to New Zealand Yosef Livne said Israel's position is different since it believes direct negotiations with the Palestinians is the only way to send the message across.   

Victoria University Professor Robert Ayson said that while the New Zealand government thinks it made a balanced statement, the Palestinians would apparently benefit more from it. He said the fact of making more of the issue for the Security Council is "something Israel is uncomfortable with."

Meanwhile, the UN has asked Israel to release the millions of dollars in tax funds owed to the Palestinian Authority that were previously withheld after it joined the International Criminal Court. A senior UN official revealed that the freezing of $127 million on Jan 3 was in breach of the Oslo peace agreement between Palestine and Israel, Aljazeera reported.

The failed Arab-backed state resolution would have ordered Israel to withdraw by the end of 2017. Australia and the U.S. voted against the resolution while France, Russia and China supported it. The resolution failed to get one more vote required for adoption. 

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