Following the latest bombing by Israel of another UN school in Gaza, the Green Party has called on the Government to expel the Israeli ambassador to New Zealand. On 3News last night, John Key stated that although he was “appalled” at what’s happening in Gaza, he didn’t want to expel the ambassador, as such a move would prevent New Zealand from applying official pressure on Israel at a later date. It was noted that no other country has expelled an Israeli ambassador over this latest Israel-Gaza conflict.
But here’s the thing – world leaders have condemned Israel’s actions; every nation with an Israeli embassy has undoubtedly pulled the ambassador in for a talking to; and Israel has simply stuck to its guns (and missiles) and continued on in precisely the same manner. Israel knows that once it eventually pulls back its ground troops and stops its missile attacks, having accomplished what it set out to do, its international relationships go back to normal.
New Zealand summoning the Israeli ambassador for a meeting? That’s not big news. However, if New Zealand expels the Israeli ambassador, that is indeed big news. It forces every other Western nation to justify why they won’t do the same. And if a few other countries follow suit, Israel is suddenly on the road to becoming a pariah state.
There need to be international repercussions for Israel. Otherwise, Gaza’s Groundhog Day will simply begin again, and again, and again.
Also, from a more cynical perspective, New Zealand is still hoping for a seat on the UN Security Council. Given we’re already the underdogs, it surely can’t hurt for us to show the world some moral fibre…