New Zealand Mends Ties With Israel But Won’t Offer Apology For Sponsoring UN Resolution

Israel agreed to renew ties with New Zealand ending a six-month diplomatic crisis sparked by a UN resolution that the latter co-sponsored last year. While this is a positive step forward in the relationship between the two countries, NZ Prime Minister Bill English clarified that his country will not change its position on the controversial resolution.

The renewal of diplomatic ties between Israel and New Zealand was reached after English initiated high-level communications with his Israeli counterpart Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PM English was reported to have personally called and sent a letter to PM Netanyahu expressing regret on the damage to the relations between the two countries, Stuff reported.

Israel cut ties with New Zealand, Venezuela, Senegal, and Malaysia for sponsoring UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December of last year, according to the Jerusalem Post. The resolution demands that the international community needs to actively oppose Israel’s occupation beyond the 1967 Green Line. The territory was claimed by Israel from Jordan after the 1967 war.

When the resolution passed, Israel cut ties with New Zealand and Senegal and called its ambassadors home. The country has no diplomatic ties with Malaysia, while Venezuela’s President Hugo Chaves already cut its ties with Israel in 2009. The nation already resumed diplomatic relations with Senegal just this month.

Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to renew diplomatic relations with New Zealand.
[Image by Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images]

At the moment, it appears that Prime Minister English’s main concern is to restore a relationship with Israel. He has so far refused to comment on the controversial resolution, which was sponsored by his predecessor.

“The resolution is one that uh, has been passed by the UN, it exists. What’s important is that the relationship between New Zealand and Israel is on a good footing.”

However, the prime minister clarified that the letter does not amount to an apology by his country. Speaking to the New Zealand Herald, English explains that the main concern is simply to reestablish diplomatic ties with Israel.

“We’re not apologising for anything. We’re simply saying that friends who are estranged can’t talk about these matters. So being able to discuss them is important.”

At the moment, no copy of New Zealand’s letter to Israel has been released to the public. The prime minister’s office is not likely to reveal the letter’s entire content anytime soon as they fear that doing so would “prejudice the international relations of the Government.”

With the six-month crisis resolved, Israel is preparing to man its diplomatic post in New Zealand. The nation plans to send ambassador Itzhak Gerberg back to its Wellington embassy.

[Featured Image by Phil Walter/Getty Images]