Asia Pacific Report newsdesk
A Green Party motion asking New Zealand MPs to recognise Palestine as a state has failed in the House, with opposition National and ACT MPs objecting to the effort.
Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman, who arrived in New Zealand at an early age with her family as an Iranian-born refugee, today sought leave of the House to debate a motion asking MPs to recognise “the state of Palestine among our community of nations”, reports Stuff.
New Zealand does not recognise Palestine as a state but supports a two-state solution to the conflict, which would mean the creation of a Palestinian state.
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RNZ News reports that Ghahraman said it was about recognising “the humanity and dignity of Palestinians at a time when they are facing extreme violence and degradation, once again, at the hands of Israeli occupying forces”.
National’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson Gerry Brownlee said the party had consistently been in favour of a two-state system.
“Despite the failure of talks over many years to achieve this, we are firmly of the view that it is the best solution to the extraordinary violence that has for a long time and currently is afflicting both Israelis and Arabs on the two sides of the argument,” Brownlee said.
There had been “administrative signs” that discussions had started to evolve, he said.
‘Get back to the table’
“What we need now is for those parties to desist from their current conflict and to get back to the table, working out how they can co-exist in what is a very, very small part of the world.”
The ACT Party also opposed the motion.
My motion on behalf of the @NZGreens on the right of #Palestine to join our community of states.
The only party who indicated their support was the @Maori_Party.
This was a moment to stand for lasting peace over party politics. Shame.#GazaUnderAttack #FreePalestine pic.twitter.com/vP53fYsgWC
— Golriz Ghahraman (@golrizghahraman) May 19, 2021
A letter sent by the party’s Deputy Leader Brooke Van Velden to Ghahraman said ACT supported a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Van Velden said the primary reason it was opposing the motion was because of a tweet sent by Green MP Ricardo Menendez last week that said “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!”
From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free! pic.twitter.com/xKDbZ5GLeu
— Ricardo Menéndez (@RMarchNZ) May 15, 2021
“This phrase is used by Hamas, a ‘terrorist’ organisation that calls for the elimination of Israel,” van Velden said. However, it is also a phrase widely used by acrivists across the world in support of Palestinian self-determination.
Without Labour’s support, the Green Party motion failed.
Te Paati Māori was the only other party to support the motion.
The Speaker said it was “disorderly” of Ghahraman to try and move the motion, given she knew it was going to be voted down.
This article is republished under a community partnership agreement with RNZ.
This content originally appeared on Asia Pacific Report and was authored by APR editor.