Israel rejects our ambassador

Israel has refused to accept New Zealand’s nominated ambassador, Jonathan Curr. 3News reports that Curr was rejected by Israel as he also represents us in Palestine.

Here’s the Israeli viewpoint:

“Israel maintains good relations with New Zealand and we shall continue striving to foster them.

“The issue in question is totally unconnected to the good relations between the two countries. It is a protocol principle which has been in practice for many years and is applicable to all the ambassadors who are accredited to Israel.”

Unfortunately, that doesn’t tally with reality. After all, here’s John Key on the issue:

“Historically the case has been that whoever we accredited for Israel, we also accredited for Palestine… [and] for Turkey,”

So it isn’t “a protocol principle which has been in practice for many years”. And if it has been, it hasn’t been applied to New Zealand.

Frankly, there’s an obvious solution here. Leave Mr Curr in place as our ambassador to Palestine and Turkey, and appoint no replacement to Israel. If the Israeli relationship with NZ is as good as Israel says it is, our Government will undoubtedly receive a call from Israel saying that Mr Curr has been approved. Protocols can be relaxed… After all, Israel may well feel a little awkward that NZ has better diplomatic relations with Palestine than with Israel…

And if Israel doesn’t make the call, well, we can always transmit any diplomatic messages to Israel via their ambassador to NZ.

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