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It lowers the standing of Jews in New Zealand and adds support to the Palestinian cause. -- Mike Regan, editor of The New Zealand Jewish Chronicle

Sydney, Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Israelis pleaded guilty but denied
they were Mossad agents

New Zealand Jews: 'We are embarrassed'


agentsNEW Zealand's Jewish community is reacting with both embarrassment and concern to Prime Minister Helen Clark's decision to impose diplomatic sanctions on Israel.

The sanctions come after two Israeli citizens, Uri Kelman and Eli Cara -- suspected of being Mossad agents -- were sentenced on Thursday to six months in prison and a NZ $50,000 fine for illegally trying to obtain a New Zealand passport.

"New Zealand is not particularly friendly to Israel," said Mike Regan, editor of The New Zealand Jewish Chronicle. He said Clark's decision has more to do with the possibility of Mossad being in the country than it does with the men's attempt to obtain illegal passports.

"Clarke imposed her own judgment. She's trying a different case here," he said, adding that there is no strong evidence that the two men are actually secret agents.

Speaking to The Jerusalem Post following a meeting of the New Zealand Jewish Council, Regan said that members were concerned the decision will have repercussions on New Zealand's already low support for Israel.

"It lowers the standing of Jews in New Zealand and adds support to the Palestinian cause," Regan said. New Zealand has donated in the past hundreds of thousands of dollars to a United Nations body that aids Palestinian refugees.

Regan said there were also concerns that the new diplomatic sanctions will deter Israeli travelers from visiting the Jewish community in New Zealand.

Former president of B'nai Brith in Wellington George Pressburg called the events an embarrassment for Israel and New Zealand's Jewish community.

"New Zealand has had reasonably good relations with Israel and the Jewish community here is trying to foster and support that. This incident is a setback," he said.

David Sanders, a member of Auckland's Jewish community, said he was "appalled" that the government should take such a step. He called on the Israeli government to address New Zealanders and respond to the allegations of these men as Mossad agents.

Although Sanders said that the affair "leaves a nasty taste in New Zealander mouth," he said he would continue to support Israel, no matter what.

Website comment, Thursday, July 15, 2004 : On tonight's 9:30pm SBS broadcast, there was courtroom footage of the sentencing of the Israeli "tourism" agents. One was desperately trying to cover his face with one hand. Watch the Kiwi dollar plummet. As for Australia, Herr Katsav surely will be most welcome here. Perhaps he'll be travelling on an Australian passport, to simplify things at customs.

Auckland High Court Justice Judith Potter [also] ordered them to pay $45,150 each to the Cerebral Palsy Society after they used the name of a disabled man in their bid to get a false passport.

Sydney, Thursday, July 15, 2004

Israel regrets NZ 'spy' case

From correspondents in Jerusalem July 15, 2004

ISRAEL said today it regretted diplomatic sanctions imposed by Auckland after two suspected Mossad agents were jailed for trying to fraudulently obtain a New Zealand passport.

Helen Clark"Israel has a long tradition of excellent relations with New Zealand, and we will do everything necessary -- together with the New Zealand Government -- to restore relations," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told public radio.

"Of course, we regret this response, but we think this decision is a decision that can be fixed."

His comments came after New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark (right) announced the suspension of Foreign Ministry contacts and said she would stop a planned visit by Israeli President Moshe Katsav in August.

In an angry statement issued after an Auckland High Court today jailed the two men, Ms Clark said that their actions had amounted to a breach of New Zealand's sovereignty.

Uriel Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara were arrested on March 23 after an undercover police operation and pleaded guilty last month to charges including fraudulently attempting to obtain a New Zealand passport.shy Mossad agent

Auckland High Court Justice Judith Potter today sentenced the two men to six months in jail. She ordered them to pay $45,150 each to the Cerebral Palsy Society after they used the name of a disabled man in their bid to get a false passport.

Katsav's office denied that any trip to New Zealand had been in the pipeline while the president himself told army radio that he hoped "things would become clear and resolve themselves."

New Zealand condemns without reservation these actions by agencies of the Israel government.-- Prime Minister Helen Clark

Sydney, Thursday, July 15, 2004

NZ fury over Israel 'secret two'

From correspondents in Wellington July 15, 2004

NEW Zealand's Prime Minister launched a blistering verbal attack and slapped diplomatic sanctions on Israel Thursday 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 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.

Ms 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. Ms Clark's comments signalled her administration believed the men were secret agents.

There was no reaction from the pair in the Auckland High Court following their sentencing and Israel did not immediately respond to Clark's comments.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment and Thursday's sentencing followed a surprise plea change to guilty at their last court appearance on July 2.

Two other men thought to be involved in the crime remain at large, police said.

Ms Clark said that Israel had ignored requests made three months ago for an explanation and an apology.

As a result, Ms Clark said she would suspend high-level visits by New Zealand officials to Israel and refuse any request for Israel's President Moshe Katsav to visit later this year when he is due to go to Australia.

Wellington also cancelled planned foreign ministry talks later this year and said any Israelis visiting New Zealand on government business would have to apply for a visa.

Wellington also will delay approval for the appointment of a new Israeli ambassador to New Zealand.

"As will be apparent from these steps, the breach of New Zealand laws and sovereignty by agents of the Israeli Government has seriously strained our relationship with Israel," Ms Clark said in a statement following the sentencing.

She said that the case involved far more than simply criminal behaviour by two individuals.

The Israeli agents had "attempted to demean the integrity of the New Zealand passport system and could have created considerable difficulties for New Zealanders presenting their passports overseas in future," she added.

"This type of behaviour is unacceptable internationally by any country. It is a sorry indictment of Israel that it has again taken such actions against a country with which it has friendly relations," Ms Clark added.


New Zealand jails two Mossad spies, punishes Israel
Two Israelis plead guilty to trying to acquire a New Zealand passport | The spies who stole my name
Mossad sending hostile New Zealand Message Via Asian-Based organisations after arrest of two agents
May 19, 2004: BBC reports that Lebanon smashes Mossad assassination ring
May 13, 2004: The 1979 Mossad Assassination attempt on Ambassador John Dean: Dean papers with full taste of Mossad's evil opened at Jimmy Carter's Presidential Library
May 9, 2004: Israelis with fake docs arrested in Tennessee, 'how to fly' leaflet found; were seen to toss something else out of Ryder truck, FBI called in
May 1, 2004: Crown Prince Abdullah says Zionists behind Terror attacks in Saudi Arabia
A history of Mossad's overseas bungling
Apr 29 -- May 2004: Secrecy surrounds two Mossad agents when they reappear in Auckland court on NZ passport forgery charges | Police fear al Qaeda terrorists using NZ passports following arrest of 2 men in Thailand and seizure of fake NZ passports | The two Mossad agents charged with NZ passport offences photographed in Auckland reporting to police as part of bail conditions | Two men believed by senior Government figures to be Israeli secret service agents have been arrested in Auckland trying to obtain a false New Zealand passport | One Mossad agent entered NZ on a fake Canadian passport

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