Israel turns NZ ambassador away

Israel turns NZ ambassador away

A tale of one man with two masters forces New Zealand to the frontline of peacemaking efforts in the Middle East


A diplomatic spat between New Zealand and Israel continues, as Israel announced that it would reject the new ambassador from New Zealand, Jonathan Curr, on account of his simultaneous appointment to serve as envoy to the Palestinians Authority. The issue is effectively forcing New Zealanders in Israel to resort to seeking consular assistance in Turkey instead.

NZ foreign minister Murray McCully commented: “A few days ago, Israel advised New Zealand that it would not accept as ambassador a person who was also a representative to the Palestinian Authority.”

Meanwhile Israel defended its position by saying that its policy was not aimed against New Zealand but would be applied to any foreign representative under the same circumstances equally:

“We have a well-known policy [of not accepting diplomats who are also accredited to the Palestinian Authority]. It’s not aimed at New Zealand,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon.”

New Zealand’s ties with Israel may have taken a blow after NZ voted in favour of allowing the Palestinian Authority to take up a nonmember observer status at the United Nations in 2012 (alongside 138 other nations), but the Israeli Embassy in Wellington insists that the two countries continue to enjoy “good relations”.