´NZ chose trade with Arabs over ties with Israel´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Ynet Published: 12.22.10, 08:54)
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More WikiLeaks wonders: US diplomats say New Zealand´s reactions over
2004 arrest of two suspected Mossad agents exaggerated to increase
New Zealand´s condemnation of Israel in 2004, following the arrest of
two Israelis suspected of being Mossad agents, might have been
intended to increase their exporting to Arab countries. US diplomats
estimated that a woolly bounty was on the agenda – lamb.
A confidential cable published by WikiLeaks and published by the
British Guardian on Tuesday contains a report by US diplomats to the
State Department, on the arrest of two Israelis in New Zealand in
March of 2004. The two, Eli Kara, 50, and Uri Zusha Kelman, 30, were
arrested after attempting to acquire fake passports, coming under
suspicion of being Mossad agents posing as tourists.
The two were later convicted after confessing they had tried to
obtain falsified documents. After Israel refused to apologize to New
Zealand, the Wellington government cooled its diplomatic relations
with the state, and a year went by before they were restored.
According to leaked cable, US diplomats disparaged New Zealand´s
reaction and accused its government of grandstanding in order to sell
more lamb to Arab countries.
New Zealand´s then-prime minister, Helen Clark, said after the
arrests: "The New Zealand government views the act carried out by the
Israeli intelligence agents as not only utterly unacceptable but also
a breach of New Zealand sovereignty and international law."
However, according to the leaked cables, US officials in Wellington
said New Zealand had "little to lose" from the breakdown in
diplomatic relations with Israel and was instead merely trying to
bolster its exports to Arab states.
In a confidential document written in July 2004, after New Zealand
imposed severe sanctions on Israel, it read: "The GoNZ (government of
New Zealand) has little to lose by such stringent action, with
limited contact and trade with Israel, and possibly something to gain
in the Arab world, as the GoNZ is establishing an embassy in Egypt
and actively pursuing trade with Arab states."
Another cable sent a couple of days later said: "Its overly strong
reaction to Israel over this issue suggests the GNZ sees this flap as
an opportunity to bolster its credibility with the Arab community,
and by doing so, perhaps, help NZ lamb and other products gain
greater access to a larger and more lucrative market." (Copyright
2010 © Yedioth Internet 12/22/10)
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