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January 19, 2017 / 21 Tevet, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘New Zealand’

Australian FM Attacks US, New Zealand, on UN Resolution

Friday, December 30th, 2016

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop (Liberal Party) on Thursday hinted that Australia would have opposed the anti-Israel UN Security Council resolution, thus breaking with the US and New Zealand on Israeli settlements in the 1967 liberated territories, The Australian reported.

Bishop spoke in response to former FM Bob Carr (Labor Party) statement that Donald Trump might allow Israel to annex Judea and Samaria. The Australian Labor party, which has been out of government since 2013, has been debating its position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Bishop said the government of Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal) is “firmly committed to a two-state solution,” but, nevertheless, had Australia been a member of the Security Council, it would not have supported last Friday’s resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements.”

“In voting at the UN, the Coalition government has consistently not supported one-sided resolutions targeting Israel,” Bishop said.

New Zealand co-sponsored the resolution, and the US could have killed it with a nay vote.

Former FM Carr, a senior Labor Party politician, said Trump’s election was likely to “unleash Netanyahu to approve a rash of new settlements and even annex the West Bank […] that would destroy a two-state solution.” He added: “If that happened, nobody would be getting up at a [Labor] conference to shield a Trump-Netanyahu axis from the strongest criticism.”

Bill Shorten, the leader of the Australian Labor Party and the current leader of the opposition in Parliament, last week visited Israel, and met with PM Netanyahu, later tweeting that he is “a good friend of Australia.” His party members have criticized him for spending only a few hours in meetings with PA officials.

Labor is committed to a two-state solution, and its official policy states that “settlement building by Israel in the occupied territories that may undermine a two-state solution is a roadblock to peace.”

An email circulating among party members, sent by the Queensland Labor Friends of Palestine, called on Labor members “to entrench the recognition of Palestine as federal Labor policy before the next federal election,” according to The Australian. But it appears that in the Trump era, Labor leader Shorten realizes this attitude would keep his party in the opposition for many years to come – much like this other Labor party we know…

JNi.Media

Yuval Rotem Replaces Dore Gold as Foreign Ministry Director

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Thursday that Yuval Rotem has replaced former Director-General Dore Gold as leader of Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Rotem, 57, is a career diplomat who has previously served as Israel’s ambassador to Australia and to New Zealand, and as the Consul-General in Los Angeles.

He has also served as chief of staff at the Foreign Ministry as well.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Hits Back: Diplomatic Fallout After Anti-Israel UN Resolution 2334

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

Within hours after the United Nations Security Council voted unanimously to condemn Israel and demand an end to settlement activity in any area restored to the Jewish State as of 1967, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was taking diplomatic action to address the UNSC members who had sponsored the resolution.

Two of the four nations who brought the measure to the floor – Venezuela and Malaysia – have no diplomatic ties with Israel. But their partners in proposing the resolution, Senegal and New Zealand, both have relations with the Jewish State.

By the end of the day, Netanyahu had recalled Israel’s ambassadors to both New Zealand and Senegal home for “consultations.” In his dual role as Israel’s Foreign Minister, Netanyahu also ordered a stop to all aid programs to Senegal and canceled the upcoming visit of the Senegalese foreign minister.

In addition, he canceled the visits in Israel of both non-resident ambassadors from New Zealand and Senegal.

Those who work with Israel will gain, he said, “because Israel has a lot to offer the nations of the world. “But those who stand against us will lose, because there will be a diplomatic and economic price to their actions against Israel.”

In addition, within 24 hours after the vote, the prime minister had cut NIS 30 million in funding to five UN institutions “that are particularly hostile towards Israel,” he said.

Moreover, he canceled next week’s scheduled official state visit to Israel by Ukraine Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, to protest Kiev’s vote in favor of the resolution as well.

Meanwhile, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement Saturday allegedly explaining its reason for withdrawing Resolution 2334 from consideration on Thursday at the United Nations Security Council.

“Egypt is the key partner in ensuring negotiations between the Israeli and Palestinian side,” Cairo said. “Therefore, it is necessary to take a balanced stance to keep an opportunity for maneuver and influence on the both sides of the upcoming negotiations focused on finding a comprehensive and fair settlement, which would guarantee the implementation of the rights of all Palestinians based on the UN decisions,” Egypt’s foreign ministry said, according to Sputnik News.

Egypt’s statement of explanation was held back, however, and issued only after the UNSC unanimously passed the resolution, which was instead advanced to a vote the very next day by New Zealand, Senegal, Venezuela and Malaysia.

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu Slams Obama’s Betrayal at Security Council

Saturday, December 24th, 2016

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued an irate message following the US’ betrayal of its most loyal Middle East ally. On Friday, the US chose to abstain at a critical anti-Israel vote at the UN Security Council, for the first time since the Carter Administration in 1980. The Council passed a resolution condemning Israel’s settlements enterprise in the liberated areas of Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. The vote passed with the vote of 14 of the council’s 15 members, to the sound of great applause. A veto by the US – or any of the five permanent members of the council – would have killed the resolution.

Netanyahu’s message was unabashed: “Israel rejects the anti-Israel resolution at the UN and will not abide by its terms. At a time when the Security Council does nothing to stop the slaughter of half a million people in Syria, it disgracefully gangs up on the one true democracy in the Middle East, Israel, and calls the Western Wall ‘occupied territory.

“The Obama administration not only failed to protect Israel against this gang-up at the UN, it collaborated with the UN behind the scenes.

“Israel looks forward to working with President-elect Trump and with all our friends in Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to negate the harmful effects of this absurd resolution.”

Indeed, the president-elect tweeted Friday evening: “As to the UN, things will be different after Jan. 20th.”

Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Netanyahu had only himself to blame for being knifed in the back as he had been, for failing to heed repeated US warnings against his increased settlement activity. “Prime Minister Netanyahu had the opportunity to pursue policies that would have led to a different outcome today,” Rhodes said.

But The Hill’s Jordan Fabian noted that Rhodes couldn’t really explain how the betrayal at the UNSC would improve the situation in the Middle East. Instead, it appears Obama just used his last chance to smack Netanyahu right where it hurt, in a final show of force, once he was free of the need to restrain himself on account of the elections.

As Rhodes put it, quite shamelessly, “There is one president at a time, [and] President Obama is the president of the United States until Jan. 20 and we are taking this action, of course, as US policy.”

In other words, we’re doing it because we can.

Netanyahu has begun to retaliate for the vote, ordering the Israeli ambassadors to New Zealand and Senegal for consultation. Israel does not have diplomatic ties with the two other states that called for a vote on the resolution – Venezuela and Malaysia. The PM also canceled a scheduled visit of the Senegal’s foreign minister to Israel in retribution for its vote as a temporary UNSC member, and voided Israel’s entire aid package to that country. He also canceled the visits of the non-resident ambassadors from Senegal and New Zealand.

Israel’s UN envoy Danny Danon said the US betrayed Israel, saying in a statement: “It was to be expected that Israel’s greatest ally would act in accordance with the values that we share – and would have vetoed this disgraceful resolution”

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) attacked President Obama, stating: “President Obama is personally responsible for this anti-Israel resolution. His diplomats secretly coordinated the vote, yet he doesn’t even have the courage of his own convictions to vote for it. This cowardly, disgraceful action cements President Obama’s richly deserved legacy as the most anti-Israel president in American history.”

Actually, Obama will probably have to fight Jimmy Carter for the title, but it’s close.

The Republican Jewish Coalition released a statement saying that “by allowing the United Nations’ anti-Israel resolution to be adopted by the Security Council, in the face of fierce bi-partisan opposition, the actions of the Obama Administration will forever be remembered as a dark, shameful moment for our country. The resolution passed today will only serve as a greater barrier to peace, which can only truly be achieved through negotiations. Instead of pressuring the Palestinians to be a partner for peace, President Obama chose to break with long-standing diplomatic practices and allowed the one-sided, anti-Israel United Nations to be used as a tool to bludgeon Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East.

“We applaud the efforts of Republican Senators, led by Senator Graham, to strip funding to the United Nations, which has time and again showed their anti-Israel bias. What happened today will forever be on the heads of the President, his Party, and groups like J Street that remained silent.”

This last part might not be such a smart move – some in Israel have pointed out that the last time the US cut its UNESCO funding it lost its influence on that vehemently anti-Semitic body, and remained unable to assist Israel when it is being attacked there. If anything, the Trump White House should enhance its involvement to be able to sway the support of the members in a desired direction.

Knesset opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp) condemned the UNSC vote and Netanyahu with the same breath, stating: “This is a difficult night for Israel. I strongly oppose this harsh resolution of the UN Security Council, which is a strategic defeat for Israel.”

The far-left was giddy. Meretz Chair MK Zehava Galon said she was happy the US did not veto the resolution “against the policy of annexation and settlement and not against Israel.” She pointed out the vote was “the direct result of the law to legalize settlements, with Israel having lost all its shame and the world having lost its patience.”

The party to the right of Netanyahu’s Likud was also pleased with the vote, recognizing a rare opportunity to use the unifying anger of the vast majority of Israelis to get some positive action going. Habayit Hayehudi Chairman MK Naftali Bennett said on Saturday night that now is the time to “switch from retreat to sovereignty.” Bennett added that “thousands of terrorists the world over are watching the UN resolution, seeing it as a call to arms. This resolution is the direct outcome of the policies of Oslo, of concessions, withdrawals and splitting – and the result of our public agreement to establish a Palestinian State at the heart of our country. [This resolution] must be discarded to the trash heap of history like all its predecessors.”

“This is the time for a U-turn,” Bennett said, “It’s time to switch from retreat to sovereignty. The conclusion is that we must stop marching on the suicidal track of a Palestinian State and to impose Israeli law on Ma’aleh Adumim, the Jordan Valley, Ofra and the entire Area C, as soon as possible.”

JNi.Media

Trump Saves the Day on Obama-Backed Anti-Settlements UNSC Resolution

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

President-Elect Donald Trump engaged in his first act as leader of the free world on Thursday, when his tweet stopped the game clock on an Egyptian anti-settlements UN Security Council resolution.

It began Wednesday night, when the Egyptian UN mission distributed among the UNSC members an anti-settlements resolution, asking for a Thursday 1 PM NY time vote. This, according to an Ha’aretz report Friday morning, came as a complete surprise to the Netanyahu government, where the expectations had been that, one, the anticipated resolution would be Palestinian via the good services of New Zealand, and, two, that it won’t happen this week.

Jerusalem received no advance notice from the El-Sisi regime – Netanyahu received the alert only after the fact at 3 AM Thursday Israel time, evening time in NYC. That’s when he rushed to tweet: “The US should veto the anti-Israel resolution at the UN Security Council on Thursday.”

What ensued was a worldwide diplomatic race involving Israel’s Foreign Ministry, National Security Council (NSC), and Netanyahu himself, who deleted his entire agenda for Thursday to focus on blocking the UNSC resolution. The PM’s aim was to rouse pressure from Israel’s friends in Washington on President Obama to postpone the vote, or, if need be, follow decades of US administrations when it came to anti-Israeli UNSC resolutions and veto the damned thing. The working assumption at the time was that the Egyptians were in synch with the White House on the resolution, and that Obama was planning to abstain, assuring its passage. According to Ha’aretz, in Ramallah the PA were also convinced that the US would not vote against. Also, Secretary of State John Kerry scheduled a major speech on his vision for Israeli-Palestinian peace in our time just hours before the UNSC vote – was that a dead giveaway or what? The Israeli diplomatic effort was truly heroic: in addition to Netanyahu’s call on Obama to veto the resolution, a senior Israeli official briefed foreign correspondents that Israel expects the US to uphold its policy of many years, across administrations, that negotiations must be direct. An American failure to veto would be a breach of its commitment. It would mean the abandoning of a traditional position moments before the change of administrations. Israel also applied pressure on Egypt to rescind its resolution, suggesting the move would harm their good relationship with the Jewish State, including the security cooperation between the two countries. There’s a lot at stake there, most notably the fact that the Egyptian military presence in the Sinai, a vital component in El-Sisi’s war against his Islamist foes at home, depends on Israel’s consent, as per the 1978 Camp David agreement. Apparently, those efforts, intense and heroic as they may have been, did not result in either a postponement or an American promise to veto. At which point Israel’s ambassador to Washington Ron Dermer called up President-Elect Donald Trump’s circle of close advisors asking for help. And they, at last, delivered, establishing, perhaps for the first time in the history of US foreign policy, that a president-in-waiting was able to reverse a sitting president’s decision, through the good services of Twitter.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2016

“The resolution being considered at the United Nations Security Council regarding Israel should be vetoed…” Trump twitted, inviting his followers to read his full message on Facebook, said message going: “As the United States has long maintained, peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians will only come through direct negotiations between the parties, and not through the imposition of terms by the United Nations. This puts Israel in a very poor negotiating position and is extremely unfair to all Israelis.”

At which point the Egyptians finally got the message, namely that they could face a hostile US Administration come January 20, should they defy Trump’s Tweet. The Egyptian mission quickly rescinded their proposal, saying they needed to discuss it with other members of the Arab League. This, according to Egyptian media, either followed or came just before a call Trump had with President El-Sisi. The latter’s spokesman then stated: “The presidents agreed on the importance of affording the new U.S. administration the full chance to deal with all dimensions of the Palestinian case with a view of achieving a full and final settlement.”

“The presidents agreed,” got it?

Netanyahu, for his part, had a heart to heart phone conversation with Sec. Kerry, who cancelled his vision speech.

Meanwhile, Reuters reported Thursday night that the US had, indeed, intended to allow the UNSC to approve a resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement building, and that the resolution is far from being dead in the water. New Zealand, Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal are now pushing Egypt to resubmit the resolution, threatening that “in the event that Egypt decides that it cannot proceed to call for a vote on 23 December or does not provide a response by the deadline, those delegations reserve the right to table the draft … and proceed to put it to vote ASAP.”

The State Department would not comment on the reports of its plan to abstain. It’s going to be a busy weekend for Israeli diplomats everywhere – and there may be another tweet from the President-Elect.

JNi.Media

New Zealand PM, Son of Holocaust Refugee, Resigns

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key, whose mother was a Jewish refugee from Austria, resigned on Monday to spend more time with his family, The Australian Jewish News reported Thursday (not a typo, do the math). Key received an urgent text message from Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, reading, “Say it ain’t so, bro.”

The 38th Prime Minister of New Zealand, Key, 55, took office in 2008, and has been the head of the New Zealand National Party since 2006. It’s possible that Key, a former Merrill Lynch executive, has just had enough. He told a press conference on Monday that he had never wanted to be a career politician and had no idea what he would do next.

“Throughout these years I have given everything I could to this job that I cherish, and this country that I love,” Key said in a statement. “All of this has come at quite some sacrifice for the people who are dearest to me — my family.”

Key’s late mother, Ruth Lazar, fled Austria in 1938 to Britain where she married an Englishman and then immigrating to New Zealand in the 1950s. in 2013, at an International Holocaust Remembrance Day exhibition in Auckland, Key spoke about his mother’s escape from Nazi Austria in 1938, the New Zealand Herald reported. He recalled his mother was “crying in the corner” after hearing news reports about the Holocaust.

Key is often asked why he didn’t speak any German, considering his Austrian roots, and his response is: “The simple answer is my mother refused to teach me. She did not want to reflect on her history.”

After growing up in poverty – his father died when he was six – Key joined Merrill Lynch in 1995 as head of Asian foreign exchange in Singapore. He was quickly promoted to Merrill’s global head of foreign exchange, based in London, earning an estimated $2.25 million a year including bonuses.

JNi.Media

UN Security Council Meets in Fiery Session on Syria

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council with a speech that scolded all member states, saying the humanitarian crisis in Syria “shames us all.”

The sluggish response of the international body and its inability to resolve the five year-long crisis that has left nearly half a million Syrians dead “should haunt every member of this Council,” he said. Ban finished off the tongue-lashing by saying, “We are at a make-or-break moment.”

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, chairing the session in his final month as rotating president of the Security Council, also wasn’t gentle with his words, calling the Syrian civil war the “most devastating conflict of the 21st century” and saying the nation had become a “byword for failure.”

In particular, Key said, UN member states had failed “to put peace, and the lives of innocent people ahead of self-interest and zero-sum politics,” according to Stuff.

At the end of the day, he said, “Syrians must reach agreement on their future government. But at this point it is clear that Syrians by themselves cannot end this war.” He added that a UN resolution had already set out the required steps and established a timeline but that it had never been implemented.

“The next few days will be critical in restoring the cessation of hostilities and getting humanitarian aid flowing. We urge the Syrian parties to abide by the arrangement. This Council should unite to back those efforts… And it must provide more than just cosmetic change with regard to the central question of President [Bashar] Assad’s future.”

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/un-security-council-meets-in-fiery-session-on-syria/2016/09/21/

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