Israel calls its New Zealand envoy for talks

From Newswire Service

Wellington, December 24, 2016

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has instructed Israel’s ambassador in New Zealand to return to Israel for consultations, his spokesman said on Friday, in response to a UN resolution on settlements.

New Zealand co-sponsored the resolution demanding Israel stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory along with Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal.

The resolution put forward at the 15-member council was able to pass after the Obama administration abstained from using its veto vote.

According to a statement issued by Mr Netanyahu’s office, he instructed Israel’s ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal to immediately return to Israel for consultations.

Mr Netanyahu also ordered the cancellation of visits to Israel by the non-resident ambassadors of Senegal and New Zealand.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully says the resolution sent a message to the parties to desist from actions that undermine a two-state solution and incite acts of violence.

"These have been established New Zealand policy positions for many years," he says.

"It is a sad fact that rather than making progress with talks between the parties, the most the Security Council is able to achieve is to attempt to stop the further undermining of the two-state solution."

The Israeli prime minister also ordered the cancellation of a planned visit to Israel by the Senegalese foreign minister in three weeks, and instructed the foreign ministry to cancel all aid programs to Senegal.

The US decision to allow the resolution to pass was a reversal of the country’s practice to protect Israel from United Nations action.

Israel and US President-elect Donald Trump had called on the United States to veto the measure.

It was adopted with 14 votes in favour, to a round of applause. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.

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Photo Caption:

Benjamin Netanyahu

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