WikiLeaks cable: NZ response on ICJ advisory opinion on Israeli security barrier

This is one of the diplomatic cables about New Zealand held by Wikileaks.

July 15, 2004
NZ response on ICJ advisory opinion on Israeli security barrier

This record is a partial extract of the original cable.

The full text of the original cable is not available.

Classified By: POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC COUNSELLOR TIMOTHY ZUNIGA-BROWN, FOR REASONS 1.5(B,D)

1. (SBU/NF) Post delivered reftel demarche to Moira Turley, Middle East and Africa Division, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT.) Despite strong support for the U.S. position, Turley stated that the GoNZ is deferring a final decision on its vote until it has seen the final text of the UNGA resolution. Turley noted that the GoNZ agreed that the issue should not have been referred to the ICJ, and had publicly called for Israel to cease construction of the wall and return to the negotiating table. Turley referred to a statement by New Zealand Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, which noted that the wall is a barrier to the concept of a two-state solution, and impeded the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.

In his statement, Goff took the opportunity to call for the implementation of the Roadmap promoted by the U.S., UN, EU and Russia - which New Zealand fully supports.

2. (U) Begin Text of NZ FM Goff statement:

Hon. Phil Goff
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Media Statement
10 July 2004

New Zealand has welcomed a strong ruling by the International Court of Justice that Israel's West bank barrier is illegal and that construction of it should be stopped immediately.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff said the International Court, by an overwhelming 14-1 majority, had found that the barrier's construction was &tantamount to annexation8 and impeded the Palestinians, right to self-determination.

&This decision comes on top of a recent Israeli High Court decision requiring the Israeli Defence Force to look again at the route of part of the wall,8 Mr. Goff said.

&Israel needs to take serious note of the court's ruling, and of international opinion. While it has a valid right to protect its people from suicide bombings, the construction of any wall should be on its legal 1967 border.

&A combination of the wall built deep into occupied territory and the continued building of Israeli settlements on land it does not have rights to under international law, makes Israel's action look like de facto annexation.

&I have personally seen the impact that the wall has had on Palestinian people; isolating towns, separating farmers from their land, and dividing families.

&Even the Israeli High Court has ruled that the hardships experienced by Palestinians because of the wall were disproportionate to any benefit Israeli received through protection of its citizens.

&The wall is a barrier to the concept of a two-state solution and to implementing the Roadmap promoted by the United States, United Nations, European Union and Russia, which New Zealand supports

&New Zealand reiterates its own call for Israel to cease construction of the wall, in line with the International Court's ruling. Both sides must come back to the negotiating table, which is the only path for achieving a sustainable peace,8 Mr. Goff said.

End text.

3. (C/NF) Comment: Although the GoNZ agrees that the focus should remain on the Roadmap as a means to a peaceful settlement, it is unlikely to convert from an abstention to a no vote. The GoNZ prides itself on its multi-lateral credentials and increasingly looks to the NAM for cover. On this as on other issues, the GoNZ will likely see converting to a no vote as undermining NZ's ability to work with a "broad range" of parties (read NAM) in the UN.

Swindells

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