Murray McCully (with a slingshot) goes striding on to the world stage to bring peace to the Middle East

2013 P11 03 David Goliath

Peace is assured – at long, long  last – in the Middle East.

Or at least, it looks like it is assured in some bits of the Middle East.

Kiwi taxpayers have despatched Alf’s good mate Murray McCully to play a critical role and do something the heavyweights of world diplomacy have egregiously failed to do.

He is trying to get Israeli and Palestinian leaders back to the negotiating table.

It’s a great week for him to be doing this, because the Black Caps’ defeat of England in that test match the other day was a great reminder of what we Kiwis can do when we are pitched against international heavyweights.

Moreover Murray has gone tripping into a part of the world where comparative small fry (a bloke called David who became the king of Israel way back in history and is held in high regard by people of the Jewish faith) showed a bloke called Goliath (a big bugger and a Philistine) where to get off.

He did this with a well-aimed stone from his trusty slingshot.

NZ defence forces nowadays are similarly armed, whereas Israel is generally understood to have nuclear weapons, but Murray can be a feisty fellow even when he seems to have been disarmed, as in the matter of the sheep sold to a very wealthy Arab entrepreneur. Alf trusts that word of this favour done to an Arab person does not undermine Israeli confidence in him while he is on his peace mission.

His ambitions are set out in this report today: 

New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully arrived in the Middle East in a push to get Israeli and Palestinian leadership back to the negotiation table.

While at a function at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and asked by the New Zealand Herald how soon peace talks could resume Mr McCully said: “my first preference would be tomorrow morning”.

But unlike lefties and greenies, our Murray knows his limitations.

New Zealand is set to have a pivotal role when it commences chairing the Security Council in July but Mr McCully is under no illusion of the challenges ahead in getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian head Mahmoud Abbas to the negotiating table after over a year hiatus.

The Herald reminds us that peace talks broke down at the end of April last year when Israel refused to release a third batch of Palestinian prisoners and approved a total of 14,000 settler homes in the occupied-West Bank.

But hey – here comes Muzza.

Mr McCully kicked off his whirlwind visit in the Middle East by meeting with Egyptian leadership including President Abdel-Fattah Al Sisi.

On Wednesday he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, national security adviser Yossi Cohen and vice prime minister Silven Shalom who is responsible for peace talks with the Palestinians.

Mr Netanyahu raised his concerns over the Iranian nuclear deal.

Mr McCully said he was given a “significant amount of time” by the Israeli leader to explore the Middle East peace process and to get an overview of Israel’s concerns.

Netanyahu is apt to lean more to the the “yahu” bit of his name than the “Netan”, of course, and will need careful handling.

On the other hand, he is a politician:

Earlier this year Mr Netanyahu in a pre-election bid to secure right-wing voters said he no longer supported a two-state solution.

After winning the election he said he would be willing to re-enter peace talks.

This is a bit like promising no new taxes and then surprising voters by introducing some.

But Natanyahu will be finding he is up against the equivalent of the Mouse That Roared:

New Zealand will make a major push to get Israeli and Palestinian leadership back to the negotiating table this year and has its own resolution.

Mr McCully said he had not seen a French resolution that is believed to push for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with a strict timeline with talks to be concluded within 18 months.

He said he would let the French resolution takes its course but that New Zealand’s own resolution pushing for peace talks would be ready.

“We will give the French proposal a couple of months. There will be a point when the Israeli government is properly formed and the Iranian discussions have concluded.

“This is not a competition, we are in no way motivated to have New Zealand’s name on a resolution that goes through the security council on this point, we are simply motivated to see progress made,” he said in Jerusalem.

“For us this means creating conditions under which the two principles [Israel and Palestine] can be brought together into a construction dialogue.”

Alf understands Murray was to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and foreign minister Rami Hamdallah yesterday, Middle East time.

He eagerly awaits news of what happened.

And he will be cracking open a bottle or two of champagne in the Eketahuna Club if the news turns out to be that peace has broken out.

One Response to Murray McCully (with a slingshot) goes striding on to the world stage to bring peace to the Middle East

  1. Maybe your mate could learn a lesson from the Israeli defence strategy of training all their men and women to fight. There is strength in numbers and another world war is coming. New Zealand will have to stand alone this time

    Here it is broken down for all y’all simpletons…

    I do wonder though where the allegiance lies of the hordes of foreigners your mob have let in My Country

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