KATHMANDU: Israel is “displeased and disappointed” with Nepal’s repeated negative votes against Israel in the United Nations.
Hanan Goder, the Israeli ambassador to Nepal, in an exclusive conversation with Khabarhub, raised serious objections to Nepal’s stand against Israel.
Ambassador Hanan said Nepal has not taken a “neutral stance on multilateral issues” and has repeatedly voted against Israel.
Referring to the recent voting in New York, he even met with Nepal’s government authorities and leaders political party leaders to raise concern over Nepal’s position against Israel.
“It’s been a well-known fact that Nepal and Israel have strong bilateral ties,” Ambassador Hanan told Khabarhub, wondering why Nepal does not take a neutral stance on multilateral issues.
Asked what response he got from Nepali politicians and authorities, Ambassador Hanan quips, “The answer is always the same. Nepal follows neutrality.”
Ambassador Hanan said, “During the last days, Nepal has again voted against Israel in the resolutions presented for voting in the UN General Assembly.”
He said, in general, Nepal follows neutral guidelines and non-intervention as Principles of its foreign policy. However, these guidelines do not apply to the cases related to Israel.
It should be noted that 64 countries, including India did not support a UN Resolution to ignore Jewish ties to Temple Mount, call it solely Muslim.
However, Nepal supported the resolution.
The UN General Assembly approved a resolution 129-11 on Wednesday that disavowed Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and called it solely by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.
Israel expresses its deep concern and expects the excellent bilateral relations of the last 60 years will also be reflected in Nepal’s votes in the UN, Ambassador Hanan said.
Israeli Ambassador Hanan drew the government’s attention pointing out such a gesture could affect bilateral relations.
A disappointed Ambassador Hanan queried, “Is it only Israel that has to show restraint? Why is it that Nepal always stands against Israel in the UN General Assembly?”
By saying so, he raised deep concern over diplomats’ and opinion-makers’ lack of attention on this issue.
“I can’t understand why Nepal’s Ambassador can’t stay neutral when it comes to Israel,” he added.
Ambassador Hanan went on to reiterate that Nepal has repeatedly stood against Israel in the multilateral forums.
“Multilateralism and bilateralism are two different things,” he said, adding, “People are aware of bilateralism but do not know or understand or even get a clue about multilateralism, which is unfortunate.”
He explains further these two saying that there are two bases of diplomatic relations, namely ‘two legs’ — bilateral relations and multilateral relations.
“Yes, we are happy with Israel-Nepal bilateral relations. But, these relations should have a second leg, which is multilateral relations, which are expressed in terms of voting in the UN.”
Ambassador Hanan said the bilateral relations are on tourism, agriculture, aid, caregivers, investment, among others.
Producing a document showing Nepal’s voting against Israel, Ambassador Hanan said Nepal stayed absent only in 2018, 2019 and 2020 on an issue.
“Israel will be happy to see Nepal changing its position,” he said recalling the commitments coming from the concerned authorities and Nepal’s Foreign Ministry officials that “Nepal is gradually changing its position in favor of Israel”.
“But what does that “gradually” mean? It can be several years,” he said.
According to him, bilateral relations between Nepal and Israel have been very cordial but when it comes to multilateralism, Nepal has never supported Israel.
“I can’t understand what is compelling Nepal to do so?” he queried.
Israeli Ambassador Hanan is “disappointed” as Nepal once again sided with Palestine when it voted against Israel this week.
“You know, Israel has been cooperating with Nepal to further deepen our friendship. But I can’t understand why Nepal is presenting itself differently in the General Conventions,” he said.
Reminding Nepal’s non-aligned foreign policy, he asks how it can stick to its position when it voted against Israel.
“What is wrong to remain neutral?” he asks adding that it was extremely difficult to understand Nepal’s diplomacy.
His message was loud and clear that Israel wants Nepal to support Israel, and stick to its non-aligned policy. “If this is the case, it needs to prove as well.”
According to him, Nepal has always stood against Israel, in international forums. However, Israel has always wanted an old and independent country like Nepal to stand by it.
In fact, every year 25/26 votes are cast against Israel. But Nepal does not seem to have estimated where the 111 votes are in favor of Israel with 25 votes, with 53 independents and 33 absentees. Israel also thinks that when Nepal remains neutral, it will be 112 on one side of the world.
In UN voting, there are four options: In Favor, Against, Abstention and Absent. However, according to him, Nepal could remain absent rather than voting against Israel.
“And where does Nepal’s non-aligned foreign policy fit in here?” he queries.
Ambassador Hanan believes that Nepal has tried to “provoke” Israel when it comes to issues about Palestine, Iran, or even Lebanon.
Meanwhile, he says most probably next week by Wednesday, another 10 resolutions will be endorsed and Nepal is also likely to vote against Israel.
“And if this is the case, Israel would be further disappointed with Nepal,” he warns.