Bill English: New Zealand would “prefer to have a positive relationship with Israel”

Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted isn’t very useful right now. ?Worse, Bill English is still holding out hope that our diplomatic ties haven’t been severed. ?Why? ?Because he can’t get Israel to confirm it.

Prime Minister Bill English says there’s no confirmation that Israel has downgraded its diplomatic ties with New Zealand following a United Nations resolution that angered the Middle Eastern nation.

The Times of Israel is reporting Israel has permanently downgraded its diplomatic ties in retribution against the countries that co-sponsored a United Nations Security Council resolution in December condemning the construction of Jewish settlements.

This has impacted on both New Zealand and Senegal while the two other co-sponsors – Malaysia and Venezuela – did not have previous existing diplomatic relations with Israel.

Israel announced its ambassadors were being recalled from the nations following the passing of Resolution 2334.

But English said he hadn’t received any formal advice and gathered it was only “unconfirmed reports”.

“I think if they were going to take that step at some stage there would be a formal proposition – we haven’t seen that.”

“I haven’t had any advice about the impact of it largely because it’s an unconfirmed report but we would prefer to have a positive relationship with Israel with the potential for further positive development of it,” he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade also confirmed they had received “no communication from the Israeli government on this”.

They recalled their ambassador and kicked ours to the kerb. ?What exactly do MFAT?need? ?An ad during the Superbowl?

English can only hope that the current silence will buy enough time for the grown-ups to work the back channels and prevent any serious long-term damage.


– Stuff