Ambassador Gerberg to return to Wellington

June 14, 2017 by J-Wire Staff
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The diplomatic crisis between Israel and New Zealand following Wellington sponsorship of the UNSC  resolution 2344 is over…and Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand is to return to Wellington.

Ambassador Dr Itzhak Gerberg in his Wellington office

Itzhak Gerberg had been recalled to Jerusalem after the resolution was passed in the UN stating that Israeli settlements o Palestinian territory occupied since 1967 including East Jerusalem have “no legal validity” and demanded a halt to “all Israeli settlement activities”.

A statement was issued by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ‘s media adviser saying that following discreet high-level bilateral discussions held over a period of several months by the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yuval Rotem, and MFA Deputy Director-General, Head of the Division for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Sofer, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke on the telephone several days ago with New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English.

Following the discussions, PM English dispatched a letter to PM Netanyahu, in which he stated: “First and most importantly, as I said in our conversation, I regret the damage done to relations between New Zealand and Israel as a result of New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC resolution 2334. We welcome the return of Israel’s ambassador to Wellington.”

The Israeli ambassador to New Zealand was recalled to Jerusalem for discussions in the wake of New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, together with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela.

In light of the telephone conversation and letter, PM Netanyahu instructed Dir.-Gen. Rotem to notify the New Zealand authorities of his decision to end the diplomatic crisis and to return Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg to his post in Wellington.

Last Sunday (June 4 2017), after meeting with Senegal President Macky Sall at the ECOWAS Summit, Prime Minister Netanyahu decided to return Israel’s ambassador to Dakar.

The New Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman told J-Wire: “The New Zealand Jewish Council welcomes the restoration of diplomatic ties between New Zealand and Israel.   Many members of New Zealand’s Jewish community and other supporters of Israel were very distressed by New Zealand’s sponsorship of the UNSC resolution, the detail of which denied the ancestral and ongoing Jewish connection to Jerusalem, contradicting earlier UN resolutions and consigning Israel to the indefensible 1949 Armistice Lines.

We are happy to put this behind us. New Zealand and Israel, two small liberal democracies, have much in common, and a special shared history, which will be honoured later this year in ANZAC commemorations of the battle of Beersheva.  As we have seen with the recent and ongoing trade delegations to Israel, New Zealand can benefit greatly from a deep friendship with Israel, and we look forward to this prospering.”

Rob Berg, president of the Zionist Federation of New Zealand  added: “The ZFNZ are pleased to hear of the re-instatement of Ambassador Gerberg and look forward to closer ties between New Zealand and Israel. The co-sponsorship of UNSC Resolution 2334 was a big stain on New Zealand’s reputation as a fair and honest broker and with a new Foreign Minister in position it is pleasing to see diplomatic relations moving forward.”

New Zealand Christian Pastor Nigel Woodley said: “Having been involved in leading protests and lobbying against the UN Resolution (UNSC Res. 2334) which led to the withdrawal of the Israeli Ambassador from NZ in December, the Flaxmere Christian Fellowship now welcomes the news of the return of the Israeli Ambassador, Dr. Itzhak Gerberg, back to New Zealand. We also congratulate both the New Zealand & Israeli diplomatic corps upon the reconciliation they have achieved and are grateful for the work of PM Bill English, and particularly that of Minister Gerry Brownlee who broke the diplomatic ice at the beginning of May. We are very pleased to see restored diplomatic relations between NZ and Israel.”



One Response to “Ambassador Gerberg to return to Wellington”
  1. Andrew Blitz says:

    If the diplomacy is equitable, then Israel should be returning its Ambassador to Auckland.

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