Australia, New Zealand Opposed to Banning Israel from the UN

Australia declared officially Friday that it would “strongly oppose any moves designed to exclude Israel from participating in the General Assembly or other United Nations bodies.” In a statement released in Canberra, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Don Willesee, said it was the longstanding position of the Australian government to support Israel’s continuing membership in the United Nations.

Australia was concerned that moves to exclude Israel from the world body could have serious implications for the ability of the UN to play a constructive peace-keeping role in the Middle East, he said. “We believe that they could also have unfortunate repercussions for the future of the organization as a whole,” he stated.

At the same time, the Minister added, Australia was conscious of the urgent need for progress towards a Middle East settlement, in conformity with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. He said he hoped that the current moves towards a second interim agreement between Egypt and Israel would be successful and lead towards such a settlement.

In welcoming the Australian statement, the President of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Nathan Jacobson, said that the Jewish community and all those concerned with the causes of peace, Israel and the UN, hoped that Australia and other governments would follow up their statements with the utmost diplomatic efforts to ensure that Israel’s exclusion did not come up as an issue in the General Assembly.

The New Zealand government also declared on Friday its opposition to any efforts aimed at excluding Israel from the UN. The New Zealand position was made known in discussions Friday in Wellington, New Zealand’s capital, between department of Foreign Affairs officials and Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, president of the American Jewish Congress. Hertzberg is in New Zealand at the end of a tour of Jewish communities in Southeast Asia on behalf of the World Jewish Congress.

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