In 2018 a resolution was put to the United Nations to – for the first time ever – condemn Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza. However, a procedural motion was raised and the General Assembly voted to require a two-thirds majority for it to pass.
The resolution was not adopted because more than one third of the UN member countries apparently support Hamas, including 120 UN member nations that belong to the ‘Non-Aligned Movement’, which is anti-Israel and comprises countries with very poor human rights records.
“New Zealand’s abstention on this procedural motion balanced New Zealand’s recognition that the terrorist actions of Hamas are a threat to Israel’s peace and security, against New Zealand’s position that procedural motions should not be used to prevent robust debate.”MFAT officials, 2018
It was not clear exactly how robust debate was prevented by procedural motions at the time, and in the new documents, MFAT officials have apparently decided that this was not a balanced position. The new recommendation is that
“…Should there be a procedural vote on a Hamas resolution of related amendments as to whether the proposals require a simple or a ⅔ majority pass, New Zealand will vote in support of a simple majority to give the proposals to condemn Hamas the greatest opportunity to pass…”MFAT officials, 2020
This is a positive move from MFAT, essentially acknowledging they made a gross error of judgement in 2018, effectively giving Hamas a free pass.
However MFAT have not updated all their flawed advice. Documents obtained by The Israel Institute of New Zealand under the Official Information Act show that MFAT officials continued recommending that NZ vote for the vast majority of the disproportionate number of biased, anti-Israel resolutions at the United Nations – in 2020, New Zealand voted for most of the 17 resolutions that singled out Israel.
New Zealand’s voting pattern is more similar to theocratic and despotic countries like Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela than liberal democracies like Australia, the United States, or Canada. All of the latter three traditional allies voted against most of the resolutions and the United States once again made a comment about the one-sided approach of the UNGA.
In the 29 pages of information obtained by The Israel Institute of New Zealand, one of the most repeated phrases was about a “balanced approach”. However, this rhetoric does not match New Zealand’s actions at the United Nations.
Not only were there almost three times as many resolutions against Israel than all other countries combined in 2020, but the resolutions condemning other countries were tempered with praise that was absent in the texts condemning Israel. Yet MFAT officials repeat, as if it’s fact, that New Zealand takes “a balanced and even-handed approach”.
MFAT officials state that their advice on voting takes into consideration, among other things, “the degree to which they are balanced and constructive”. Yet, an analysis of the texts show that most of the anti-Israel resolutions are extremely biased and unconstructive.
It remains to be seen if the flaws in their advice on the anti-Israel resolutions will also be admitted and corrected – especially as more than 1,250 people signed a petition calling on Foreign Minister Mahuta to end New Zealand’s support for the disproportionate and one-sided resolutions.