Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly called New Zealand's Foreign Minister Murray McCully over the phone to give him a warning that the nation's co-sponsoring of the recent United Nations resolution was a "declaration of war."
On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council had passed a resolution asking Israel to stop building settlement buildings on the occupied Palestinian land, including East Jerusalem, calling the act "illegal." After the United States President-elect Donald Trump reportedly pressured Egypt to drop the resolution, three countries including New Zealand picked it up and sponsored it. The US, which usually vetoes resolutions concerning Israel, abstained from voting on Saturday drawing heavy criticism from the nation.
After the UN resolution was passed, Israel has taken strict actions against the international body and the countries sponsoring it, particularly New Zealand. The nation has withdrawn its ambassador to New Zealand and has stopped New Zealand's ambassador from returning to Israel.
The Israeli PM has also rebuked other UNSC countries by reportedly putting a halt on all diplomatic contacts, cutting off aid and recalling all the envoys. Netanyahu also called the US Ambassador to Israel and lashed at him for not voting at the UN meeting. The leader has also called the UN decision "a shameful anti-Israel resolution".
According to Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Netanyahu called McCully on the day of the vote and reportedly said, "This is a scandalous decision. I'm asking that you not support it and not promote it. If you continue to promote this resolution from our point of view it will be a declaration of war. It will rupture the relations and there will be consequences."
However, reports state that the New Zealand Foreign Minister did not retreat and said that the UN resolution was consistent with New Zealand's policy on the dispute. The minister's office confirmed that the two leaders spoke shortly before the UN vote.
New Zealand, reportedly, was the only western nation in the UN council to co-sponsor the resolution along with Venezuela, Malaysia and Senegal.