English abdicates independent foreign policy over Israel

Bill English’s apology for condemning illegal Israeli settlements shows that New Zealand will not have an independent foreign policy under a National-led Government, the Green Party said today

Bill English is reported to have written a letter to Israeli officials saying that he regretted "the damage done to Israel-New Zealand relations as a result of New Zealand co-sponsoring Security Council resolution 2334".

“The Prime Minister's decision to write and ‘express regret’ to Israel for condemning its illegal settlements shows that trade, not principle, guides Bill English on the international stage,” said Green Party global affairs spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham.

“It shows a lack of moral strength from Bill English to waver on a legitimate, principled stance as soon as a country like Israel throws its weight around.

“These illegal settlements make it harder and harder for there to be peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Every new settlement takes away productive land from Palestinians and increases resentment

“Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee emphasised economic links between Israel and New Zealand when he first walked back the National Government’s condemnation of the illegal settlements.

“International pressure is needed to stop Israel from continuing to build settlements on land belonging to the Palestinian people," said Dr Graham.

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