Israel is sending her envoy to back to his post in New Zealand. The move ends a six-month break in relations between the two nations.
Israeli Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg was recalled to Jerusalem from Wellington in December 2016 after New Zealand joined Senegal, Malaysia, and Venezuela in sponsoring United Nations Security Council resolution 2334 against Israel.
The UN resolution was passed in the 15-member Council because under former U.S. President Barack Obama, the United States chose not to use its veto and instead abstained during the vote.
New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English sent a letter with an apology to his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after the two men spoke earlier this week.
“First and most importantly, as I said in our conversation, I regret the damage done to relations between New Zealand and Israel as a result of New Zealand’s co-sponsorship of UNSC resolution 2334,” English wrote in his letter. “We welcome the return of Israel’s ambassador to Wellington.”
The conversation came after a number of discreet high-level bilateral discussions held over a period of several months by the Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yuval Rotem, and MFA Deputy Director-General, Head of the Division for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Sofer.
In addition, Netanyahu decided last Sunday (June 4), after meeting with Senegal President Macky Sall at the ECOWAS Summit, to return Israel’s ambassador to Dakar as well. The two leaders announced an end to the crisis between the two countries on the fringe of the summit.
Israel has said it will immediately return its ambassador to Senegal, and Senegal has said it will support Israel’s candidacy as an observer to the African Union. The two countries will also resume joint projects that were suspended in the wake of the crisis, and cooperation will be advanced in security and agriculture, the two leaders announced.