Fran O’Sullivan writes:
It is fundamentally absurd to believe Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to declare war on New Zealand in retaliation for co-sponsoring the successful UN resolution against Israel. Netanyahu has far bigger fish to fry than New Zealand.
Fran is correct.
What is at issue now is the controversial report citing two unnamed “Western diplomats” that said Netanyahu had phoned Foreign Minister Murray McCully and asked him to neither support the resolution nor to promote it.
“If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences,” the Israeli prime minister is reported to have said to McCully.
Some have misread the reported comments and interpreted them in an overly literal fashion suggesting Israel has declared war on NZ.
Obviously it hasn’t and won’t.
Indeed. First of all the reported comments are that Israel would regard it as NZ declaring war on Israel, not that Israel would declare war on NZ. A vital difference. Also I understand the original story in Hebrew has been lost in translation a bit and it is more that the Israeli PM said that NZ voting for the resolution would be an aggressive act or act of aggression.
So yes a very strong response from the Israeli PM, but not declaration of war or anything close.
Readers might be interested in the full text of the Security Council resolution on Israel and settlements, as opposed to what some people claim was in it.
Personally I support Israel around 95% of the time, especially when it comes to their own security. But I’ve never been persuaded that settlements on occupied territory are a good idea, or will lead to a two state solution. A one state solution is worse for Israel as that would mean having to give citizenship to those living in those areas and Jews would become the minority in Israel.
Hamas are evil and Fatah corrupt and the Palestinian leadership bear most of the blame for there being no peace settlement. They have rejected some very good offers in the past, and I remain sceptical that their leadership are interested in a two state solution.
However two wrongs do not make a right. In my view the settlements are wrong and provocative. Israel surrenders the moral high ground when they persist with them. The settlements are not the cause of the conflict, but they aggravate it and make peace much harder.
The settlement policy is divisive even in Israel. Most acts of the Israeli state have widespread support (such as military action against Hamas) but the settlements are a policy most associated with the Likud party. They do have majority support, but also significant opposition. So opposing the settlements is not opposing the state of Israel – just the policy of the current Government.
There have been some polls inside Israel on them. They have found:
- 42% say the settlements hurts security and 27% helps security
- 41% say Israel should leave the West Bank/Judea and Samaria and 48% are against
But you can be anti-settlements (as I am) but also regard the UN resolution as somewhat unfair to Israel in that the language around the occupied territories implicitly includes some of the holiest sites in Judaism in them. This open letter from UN Watch is a good example of the criticisms against the resolution.
For those interested my views on what should happen (but never will) are:
- There should be a two state solution
- Palestine should be given territory equal in area to the pre-1967 borders based on the original mandate.
- The territory for Palestine must be good enough to allow them to form a viable prosperous state, not just a series of enclaves, and be agreed between the two parties.
- The settlements should cease as every extra settlement is less flexibility for agreeing final boundaries.
- The Palestinian leadership of Fatah and Hamas must agree in words and actions to the right of Israel to exist and cease terrorism
- Palestine would be a demilitarised state
- Jerusalem is the most difficult question and is the biggest challenge (after the fact the Palestinian leadership has little interest in peace). In theory it serves as the capital to most countries, with all citizens allowed in all of the city, but different areas under different control.