Israel and New Zealand agree to restore full diplomatic ties
Israel and New Zealand said Tuesday they decided to restore full diplomatic ties following a seven-month quarrel over the latter’s support to a UN resolution against the West Bank settlements.
This decision ends the six month diplomatic crisis between the two countries sparked by New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of anti-settlement UN Security Council Resolution 2334 in December.
Israeli prime minister’s office said in a statement that Israel would send back its ambassador to New Zealand as New Zealand’s Prime Minister Bill English expressed regrets of his country’s support to the resolution.
According to the statement, English sent a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he “regrets the damage that was done to Israeli-New Zealand relations” as a result of the vote on UN Security Council’s resolution number 2334, which New Zealand co-sponsored.
“We will welcome the return of the Israeli ambassador to Wellington,” English added.
Following a phone talk between the two leaders, Netanyahu “decided to end the crisis and re-send the Israeli ambassador to Wellington,” the statement read.
In a rare move on Dec. 23, the Security Council resolved to urge Israel to put an end to the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank. The resolution condemned the settlements as “flagrant violation” of international law and said they have “no legal validity.”
Israel was outraged at the decision and recalled its ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal, two of the states which co-sponsored the motion.
Last week, Israel agreed to resend its envoy to Senegal, following a meeting between Netanyahu and Senegalese President Macky Sall during the summit of the Economic Community of West African States in Liberia.
The settlements are located in the West Bank, on lands Israel seized during the 1967 war, where the Palestinians wish to establish their future state.
The settlements are illegal under international law and are seen by the Palestinians and the international community as a major obstacle to a peace deal.