Israel bars New Zealand ambassador from the country in further Security Council fallout

New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, Jonathan Curr, has been effectively banned from entering the country as Israel continues to retaliate against a UN decision to condemn settlements. Photo/ File
New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, Jonathan Curr, has been effectively banned from entering the country as Israel continues to retaliate against a UN decision to condemn settlements. Photo/ File

New Zealand's ambassador to Israel has been effectively banned from the country in a further retaliation against the recent critical United Nations Security Council resolution.

Israel has summoned representatives from Security Council members and ordered the Foreign Ministry to reduce work ties with countries who voted to pass a resolution condemning Israel's continued settlements in the occupied territories.

On Saturday, the Israeli Government recalled its ambassador from New Zealand after the Security Council voted in favour of passing the resolution.

New Zealand co-sponsored the resolution, which said the settlements violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine.

The resolution demanded that "Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem."

Now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed New Zealand's ambassador is "not able to visit Israel for the time being", MFAT said in a statement.

"We have been very open about our view that the UNSC should be doing more to support the Middle East Peace Process and we look forward to continuing to engage constructively with all parties on this issue."

Kiwi diplomat Jonathan Curr is also ambassador to Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Jordan.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also recalled Israel's ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal, ended aid programmes to Senegal and pledged to cut off US$7.9 million in Israeli funding to UN institutions.

Netanyahu defended his reaction to the vote, saying "there's no alternative to a firm response".

He added: "We don't turn the other cheek. Countries of the world respect strong countries that stand up for themselves."

- NZ Herald

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