Israel Rejects New Zealand Ambassador

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) -
New Zealand diplomat Jonathan Curr will not be accepted as envoy to Israel if he’s also an envoy to the Palestinian Authority, say Israeli officials. (AP Photo)
New Zealand diplomat Jonathan Curr will not be accepted as envoy to Israel if he’s also an envoy to the Palestinian Authority, say Israeli officials. (AP Photo)

Israel has rejected New Zealand’s new ambassador because he is also an envoy to the Palestinian Authority, officials said Monday.

New Zealand officials said that since 2008, its ambassadors in Turkey have been responsible for covering a large swath of territory. But Israel has refused to accept their latest appointment to the post, Jonathan Curr, who was due to travel to Yerushalayim in the coming days to present his papers.

“A few days ago, Israel advised New Zealand that it would not accept as ambassador a person who was also a representative to the Palestinian Authority,” Foreign Minister Murray McCully said in a statement.

An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman in Yerushalayim said the decision reflected the ministry’s practice of not accrediting foreign diplomats who are also accredited to the Palestinian Authority.

“We have a well-known policy,” said the spokesman, Emmanuel Nahshon. “It’s not aimed at New Zealand.”

Nahshon said Israel had taken no action against the two previous New Zealand ambassadors, also accredited to the Palestinian Authority, because it had been unaware of their accreditations.

The Israeli Embassy in Wellington said in a statement that the matter was “totally unconnected to the good relations between the two countries.”