Thursday, December 29, 2016

Netanyahu Threatens War on New Zealand

Clearly, Netanyahu's mask is slipping. As you read the following detailed Israeli account of what went on behind the scenes in the lead up to last Friday's UNSC vote on the illegality of Israel's settlement project in the West Bank, bear in mind:

a) that it is only because of the abject failure of Western governments to stand up to Israel's criminality and bullying decades ago that has led to this;

b) that it was only in September that Obama approved the largest aid package in history for Israel, an unconditional $38 billion over the next 10 years; and

c) that the Turnbull government has issued an invitation for the man who has declared war on NZ to visit these shores early in 2017.

Britain pulled the strings and Netanyahu warned New Zealand it was declaring war: new details on Israel's battle against the UN vote, Barak Ravid, Haaretz, 28/12/16:

"Last Friday, a few hours before the UN Security Council vote on the settlements, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu phoned New Zealand's foreign minister, Murray McCully. New Zealand, together with Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela, was leading a move to resubmit for a vote the resolution from which Egypt had backed down the day before. A few hours earlier, a senior official in the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem called New Zealand's ambassador to Israel, Jonathan Curr, and warned that if New Zealand's move came to a vote, Israel might close its embassy in Wellington in protest. Ambassador Curr noted this and reported it to his government, but when dawn came in New York Israel understood that things were still moving ahead. Netanyahu's phone call to McCully was almost his last attempt to prevent the vote, or at least postpone it and buy a little time. Western diplomats say the conversation was harsh and very tense and Netanyahu let loose with sharp threats, perhaps unprecedented in relations between Israel and another Western country. 'This is a scandalous decision. I'm asking that you not support it and not promote it,' Netanyahu told McCully, according to the Western diplomats, who asked to remain unnamed due to the sensitivity of the matter. 'If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences. We'll recall our ambassador to Jerusalem.' McCully refused to back down from the vote. 'This resolution conforms to our policy and we will move it forward,' he told Netanyahu.

"Just one month earlier, when McCully visited Israel and met with Netanyahu, he found the latter an entirely different man. Netanyahu was pleasant, friendly and overflowing with warmth. He showed McCully the famous PowerPoint presentation that he had shown in a round of background briefings for the media last summer. Laser pointer in hand, Netanyahu told McCully that Israel was expanding its foreign relations, breaking through in the region and making friends in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The Western diplomats said that McCully, who over the past two years had been consistently pushing the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the UN Security Council, spoke with Netanyahu about the resolution his country wanted to promote. It was a much softer and more moderate version than the motion that passed last Friday. New Zealand's resolution did talk about freezing construction in the settlements, but also about freezing Palestinian steps in the UN and the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and called for direct negotiations without preconditions. Netanyahu rejected this outright. If it were up to him, the Palestinian issue would not have come up in the meeting at all. His message to McCully was similar to what he said endlessly in public over the past few weeks. The world doesn't care too much about the Palestinian issue. The automatic majority against Israel in the UN is about to become a thing of the past. 'The vote Friday proved differently and showed that Netanyahu's assessment was wrong,' a Western diplomat said.

"Discussions with Western and Israel diplomats reveal many interesting details about some of what happened behind the scenes at UN headquarters in New York between Thursday afternoon, when Egypt announced it was backing down from the resolution on the settlements, and Friday morning, when New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela announced that they would continue to push for a vote. From the moment Egypt backed down on Thursday, the Western and Israeli diplomats say, New Zealand, Senegal, Malaysia and Venezuela were pressured to move ahead anyway. The Palestinians were the first to exert pressure, but they were joined by some of the Gulf States and Britain. The Western diplomats said that the British encouraged New Zealand to continue pushing for a vote even without Egyptian support. The British had become active regarding the resolution a few days earlier. The Israeli diplomats say that from information that reached the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, British legal figures and diplomats had been working directly with the Palestinians on the wording of the resolution even before it was distributed by Egypt the first time on Wednesday evening. According to the Israeli diplomats, the British did this secretly and without informing Israel. The suspicion in Jerusalem is that the British had been working during all those days for the Americans to make sure the resolution was to US President Barack Obama's liking, but without the need to intervene directly in formulating it."

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