New Zealand defends vote
New Zealand said yesterday the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements should have come as no surprise to the Jewish State, after Israel retaliated by recalling its ambassador to Wellington. New Zealand co-sponsored the resolution which described the settlements in the occupied territories as a major stumbling block to Middle East peace efforts, as they are built on land the Palestinians consider part of their future state.
There was applause in the UN chamber when the first resolution by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in more than 38 years to condemn Israel over its settlement policy was passed 14-0, with the country’s key ally the United States abstaining. Israel refused to recognize the resolution with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman tweeting that their ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal, who co-sponsored the resolution, were to return to Israel immediately.
“These steps are taken against countries that have tabled the draft resolution to the UNSC and have diplomatic relations with Israel,” he said. New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the decision should have been no surprise to Israel which knew Wellington’s position long before the UN vote. “Israel has informed us of their decision to recall their ambassador to New Zealand for consultations,” McCully told AFP in a statement. — AFP