Israel’s ambassador has confirmed he has not yet met with Murray McCully, nor formally with John Key, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.
“The Prime Minister said at a press conference yesterday that ‘on at least one occasion in the last couple of weeks we have formally called in the Israeli ambassador [Yosef Livne]’ to register the Government’s concerns about what is happening in Gaza.
“What John Key didn’t say was that while MFAT might have called Ambassador Livne in, he hasn’t formally spoken to Mr Livne himself.
“Given the tragedy that is unfolding the very least New Zealanders would expect is that the Prime Minister would have formally called the ambassador in to communicate this country’s abhorrence at Israel’s indiscriminate and disproportionate bombardment of the people of Gaza.
“This is a very simple issue of principle and decency: human rights should apply to everyone. Those rights are being violated in Gaza by the Israeli Government and it is up to our Prime Minister to send that message via the ambassador to his country.
“New Zealand has a proud history of standing up for international rule of law. As a small country we depend on a set of rules so we avoid a situation where big simply bullies small.
“That is the basis of our case to sit on the UN’s Security Council.
“This is not one of those cases where silent diplomacy is best, as Murray McCully has said. Instead, we need to be loud and crystal clear that New Zealand totally opposes the Israeli actions that have violated human rights.
“Hamas too has been indiscriminate in their actions. It has persistently fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel, killing three civilians.
“However the death of more than 1200 civilians, including more than 300 children in Gaza is quite simply outrageous,” David Shearer said.