NZ should formally recognise Palestine

New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state

On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland.

Down here in New Zealand, I lodged a written Notice of Motion on Parliament’s Order Paper on 10 December.  It read:

That this House call upon the government to follow Sweden in recognising Palestine as a sovereign State, and looks forward to the day when it is accepted as a member of the United Nations.

That afternoon just before Question Time, I sought leave of the House to move the Notice ‘without debate’ for endorsement by the New Zealand Parliament.

The Speaker put it to the House; scores of National MPs opposed.  Leave was not granted.

In fact Sweden is the 135th United Nations Member State, out of 193, to recognise Palestine as a sovereign state. Sweden has enjoyed a diplomatic backlash from Israel.

Elsewhere in the West, national parliaments (UK, 13 October; Spain, Nov. 18; Ireland’s senate, 22 Oct; France, 2 Dec.) have adopted non-binding resolutions in favour of recognising Palestine.

In the UK, the British Parliament vote in support of recognising Palestine was 274 to 12.

France’s Parliament supported recognition by 339 to 151 votes.  The Foreign Minister has set a deadline of two years for the creation of an independent Palestine state, after which France will extend recognition.

These moves gives hope to Palestine that more Western states will back them as Israel continues to build settlements deemed illegal by the United Nations.

Sadly, the New Zealand Parliament remains silent on this question.