New zealand outraged after israeli spies are jailed
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Thu 15 Jul 2004
New Zealand Outraged after Israeli Spies are Jailed
New Zealand’s prime minister launched a blistering verbal attack and slapped diplomatic sanctions on Israel today after two suspected Mossad agents were imprisoned for six months for illegally trying to obtain a New Zealand passport.
“New Zealand condemns without reservation these actions by agencies of the Israel government,” Prime Minister Helen Clark said in Wellington after the pair were sentenced to prison terms.
“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,” she said.
Clark said the action of the men and those of the Israeli government had “seriously strained relations” with New Zealand.
The pair, Urie Zoshe Kelman, 30, and Eli Cara, 50, both admitted a charge of illegally trying to obtain a New Zealand passport at an earlier hearing.
They were arrested in March after they tried to collect a passport in the name of a New Zealand national who is a wheelchair-bound cerebral palsy victim.
The two defendants were reported to have links to Israel’s Mossad foreign intelligence service. Clark’s comments signalled that her administration believed the men were secret agents.
There was no reaction from the pair in the Auckland High Court following their sentencing.
Israel’s acting ambassador in Australia, Orma Sagiv, said Israel would work to rebuild relations with New Zealand.
“Israel values its relations with New Zealand very much and we will do everything we can to return relations to their former situation,” she said from Canberra.