- December 28 2016 Sydney Morning Herald
Israel warned New Zealand that UN resolution was 'declaration of war': report
· Henry Cooke
The UN Security Council resolution called for Israel to stop building settlements on occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, declaring the settlements "illegal".
It was picked up and sponsored by New Zealand and three other countries after US President-elect Donald Trump reportedly pressured Egypt into dropping it.
It was passed on Saturday after the US abstained instead of vetoing, as they historically have done on votes concerning Israel.
In the aftermath, Israel has withdrawn its ambassador to New Zealand and barred New Zealand's ambassador to Israel.
Netanyahu lashed out at other Security Council countries by curbing diplomatic contacts, recalling envoys, cutting off aid and summoning the US ambassador for a scolding. Netanyahu has publicly called it a "shameful anti-Israel resolution".
The Israeli daily Haaretz, citing unnamed Western diplomats, reported that a "harsh" phone call took place between Netanyahu and McCully on the day of the vote.
"This is a scandalous decision. I'm asking that you not support it and not promote it," Netanyahu reportedly told McCully.
McCully reportedly refused to back down, according to Haaretz, telling Netanyahu the resolution was consistent with New Zealand policy on the dispute.
Israel's ambassador to New Zealand Itzhak Gerberg will meet with Netanyahu on Thursday to discuss whether further sanctions against New Zealand are appropriate. Israel's embassy said that "until further notice" no more sanctions would be imposed.
"We have been very open about our view that the [Security Council] should be doing more to support the Middle East peace process and the position we adopted today is totally in line with our long established policy on the Palestinian question," he said.
New Zealand has used its time on the Security Council to consistently call for a halt to settlements.
Its two-year term as a non-permanent member ends this month.
New Zealand was the only Western nation to co-sponsor the resolution, joining Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.
The Security Council passed the resolution 14-0, with the United States abstaining.