"After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee's evasive answers to repeated questions on Morning Report, Bill English needs to come clean and state very clearly whether New Zealand still supports the United Nations resolution".
Israel is sending her envoy to back to his post in New Zealand. The crisis began after New Zealand voted in favor of a United Nations resolution that claimed that settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem is illegal.
The letter followed a phone call between Mr English and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several days ago, according to the newspaper's report.
Israel recalled its ambassador Itzhak Gerberg in December after New Zealand, Malaysia, Venezuela and Senegal sponsored a UN Security Council resolution demanding an end to Israeli settlement activity. Jerusalem has no diplomatic ties with the resolution's other two co-sponsors, Malaysia and Venezuela.
"The letter indicated that New Zealand wanted to resume diplomatic with Israel, and regretted the fallout".
Asked whether New Zealand was weakening its position on Israeli settlements by sending the letter, Brownlee said it did not amount to an apology. We're simply saying that friends who are estranged can't talk about these matters.
Brownlee added that any solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict would come from the two countries working together, "not from any external pressure". "All I'm going to say is that we regret the fallout". Bill English needs to be upfront with New Zealand.
"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".
The settlements are illegal under worldwide law and are seen by the Palestinians and the global community as a major obstacle to a peace deal.
Israel also made a decision to return its ambassador to Senegal, another country that co-sponsored the UN Security Council resolution in December, after Netanyahu met with Senegal President Macky Sall last week at the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) Summit. Its passing was seen as the crowning achievement of our two years on the UN Security Council.