SYDNEY (JTA) – New Zealand’s Minister for Immigration has written to the Israeli ambassador in Wellington apologizing personally for a map on a government website that showed a “Palestine,” but not Israel.
“I can assure you that the fact sheet did not reflect New Zealand Government policy,” Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in the letter to Ambassador Itzhak Gerberg. “The map was clearly inaccurate and did not label the State of Israel as it should.”
Lees-Galloway also wrote: “I apologize for the offence that has been caused and assure you immediate action has been taken to correct the situation.”
The fact sheet on the Immigration New Zealand, an official government website, which offered information about Palestinian immigrants to New Zealand, also identified East Jerusalem as “the designated capital of the State of Palestine.” There also was no mention of Palestinian terrorism, but information on the page said that Israel caused “massive repression of Palestinians” during the second intifada.
Following a barrage of complaints on social media, the web page was removed, though screenshots remain.
“This official paper of New Zealand incites hatred of the State of Israel as well as anti-Semitism,” Gerberg wrote earlier this week Lees-Galloway.
An INZ spokeswoman told the New Zealand Herald that the document was meant to give additional information about the humanitarian situation in Palestine and New Zealand’s refugee program.