New Zealand announces it plans to restore diplomatic relations with Israel

Following recall of Israeli Ambassador to NZ in Dec. after NZ supported United Nations anti-Israel resolution, NZ FM calls for resuming diplomatic relations; Israel withholds $1 million in UN payment following latest UNESCO resolution

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New Zealand has announced that it intends to restore diplomatic relations with the State of Israel.

New Zealand’s recently appointed Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee announced that he had sent a formal letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu in which he expresses New Zealand’s commitment to “get back on track” in its relationship with Israel.

Brownlee stated on the letter “I’ve sent a letter to Mr. Netanyahu yesterday firstly congratulating them on their national day but expressing a desire for the Israeli-New Zealand relationship to get back on track and to do that by recognizing that we’ve got synergies and innovation and agriculture and various other things like that.”

Israel recalled its ambassador to New Zealand in December of 2016 after New Zealand voted in favor of United Nations Resolution 2334, deeming Israel’s presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem as illegal.

UNESCO voted in an additional anti-Israel resolution on Tuesday, the newest resolution denying Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. Following the voting in of the resolution, which was held ironically on Israel’s independence day, Israel announced that it would hold $1 million from annual payment to the United Nations. Each year Israel pays $12 million to the United Nations.

Netanyahu confirmed the withdrawal of funds stating on Wednesday, “UNESCO again passed a delusional resolution regarding Israel’s status in Jerusalem, the capital of the Jewish people for 3,000 years. I very much appreciate the across-the-board unity of almost all political parties in rejecting this absurd decision. I would also like to say that this systematic harassment has a price. In wake of the resolution, I have instructed Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem to deduct $1 million from the funds that Israel transfers to the UN. Israel will not sit by while the organization calls for the denial of our sovereignty in Jerusalem.”