Israel move could harm NZ-Trump relations - expert

  • 25/12/2016
US President-elect Donald Trump
US President-elect Donald Trump

An expert fears New Zealand's role in a UN resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlements may put us out of favour with Donald Trump.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution co-sponsored by New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal demanding that Israel stops building settlements on occupied Palestinian territory.

Israel has retaliated by recalling its ambassadors in New Zealand and Senegal.

International law expert Al Gillespie says the situation with Israel will likely blow over, but believes the Trump administration will view what happened "quite dimly".

"Hopefully it will all be forgotten by the time Mr Trump comes to power, but I think it's likely that it will be remembered in a negative sense," Mr Gillespie told Newshub.

An article in the Jerusalem Post suggests New Zealand may have colluded with the United States on the resolution when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Wellington in November.

The article quotes Foreign Minister Murray McCully's comments after the visit where he said: "We've spent some time talking to Secretary Kerry about where the US might go on this ... it is something that is still in play."

The resolution put forward at the 15-member council was able to pass after the Obama administration abstained from using its veto vote, defying pressure from Mr Trump as well as Israel and several US senators.

The move has also angered the Jewish community in New Zealand.

"It's extremely disappointing," says Juliet Moses from the New Zealand Jewish Council. 

"I think it's a one-sided resolution that will set peace back rather than advance it and that is the true tragedy of this."

But Mr Gillespie says New Zealand has taken the right stance.

"It would have been a very difficult decision for New Zealand to make because there would have been a lot of pressure on us to turn a blind eye," he said.

"I think New Zealand made the correct call by speaking the truth."

The resolution was adopted with 14 votes in favour. It is the first resolution the Security Council has adopted on Israel and the Palestinians in nearly eight years.