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Will Israel downgrade ties with Senegal, NZ…

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Word spread this week that Israel was allegedly downgrading its diplomatic ties with New Zealand and Senegal over a United Nations resolution they had supported towards the end of last year and that the country had recalled its ambassadors. But Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon categorically denied the rumour, which is nonetheless persisting.
by SUZANNE BELLING | Feb 16, 2017

Informed sources close to Israel have intimated this is not the end of the issue. There have been strong indications that Israel is not happy that some of its “friends”, especially in West Africa following Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s successful foray to strengthen ties, had voted for the UN resolution, condemning Israeli settlements.

The reports on Senegal and New Zealand suggested that Israel was supposedly downgrading its diplomatic ties with the two countries, as well as keeping travels to a minimum to another 12 countries. All these countries had voted for UN Resolution 2334 that was passed late last year.

In the resolution, the UN Security Council reiterated its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem. It refused to recognise any changes to the June 4, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed to by the two sides through negotiations.

This resolution called for immediate steps to prevent all acts of violence against civilians in Israel and the terroritories, including acts of terror, as well as acts of provocation and destruction. It further called for the strengthening of ongoing efforts to combat terrorism, including through existing security co-ordination, and to clearly condemn all acts of terrorism.

The vote for the resolution was 14-0, with the UK, France, Russia and China inter alia supporting it - and the United States - for the first time - abstaining.

The Security Council called on both sides to observe calm and restraint and to refrain from provocative actions, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric in order to de-escalate the situation on the ground and rebuild trust and confidence.

“There is no decision to downgrade diplomatic relations with Senegal and New Zealand,” Nachshon told the Jewish Report. He insisted the ambassadors - who are in Israel - were purely brought back “to hold consultations with them”. 

The Israeli ambassador to Senegal is South African-born Paul Hirschson, formerly of Johannesburg, who studied at King Edward High School and was a Betar leader in his youth. He obtained a BA degree in law and accounting from the University of the Witwatersrand and graduated from Boston University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

The small Jewish community in this mainly Muslim, West African, country are French Jewish expats, American Jews who work there and Israelis who have married locals.

In contrast, New Zealand has a Jewish population of only 6 867 (2013 census) out of the country’s total population of 4,5 million. The ambassador there is Dr Itzhak Gerberg.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday news reports said the Israeli Ambassador to Egypt David Govrin had returned to Israel over security concerns.

Nachshon told Jewish Report that Govrin had not been recalled (“it has nothing to do with relations with Egypt”) but had been working from Jerusalem as ambassador for the past three months.

The Israeli embassy reopened in Cairo in 2015 after being closed as a result of a mob attack on the diplomatic mission.

7 Comments

  1. 7 nat cheiman 16 Feb
    Israel ought to severe or downgrade ties. Israel is no longer a second class state nor a Mickey Mouse country.
    It is, in almost every facet, a stronger country economically, educationally, and militarily than NZ and Senegal. 
    In a manner of speaking, those 2 countries cannot stand with Israel.
  2. 6 Mordechai 21 Feb
    Hi Nat, I assume the same goes for Israel's relations with South Africa ??
  3. 5 nat cheiman 21 Feb
    Absolutely Mordechai
  4. 4 Adam 21 Feb
    Cummon Nat. U can't sit here all Litvak and all and suggest that SA and Israel cutting ties wld make u feel safer? I think Mordechai crnrd u. try again + honestly this time
  5. 3 nat cheiman 21 Feb
    Adam, I do not feel unsafe at all. But SA is governed by vacuous politicians who do not understand basic economics, let alone the background of Israel.
    My point is; Does Israel need any country, other than for trade purposes?
  6. 2 Mordechai 22 Feb
    Adam, look at it with clear eyes - the S African govnt  has been at the forefront of Anti Israel resolutions at the UN, It hosts Hamas leadership, it has working groups in SA with Hamas and PA, it is a huge supporter of BDS ETC ETC...and I could go on and on
  7. 1 Adam 22 Feb
    hey guys, I agree with what u say. but I'm just saying what is good for Israel may bot be good for SA jews and the thousands of Israeli citizens who live here and need consulr services. We wld all b left with no political voice other than palastine embassy that SA govt pays all costs for and bds. Good for Israel, Israeli residents and SA jews - I don't think so

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