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Interview
Jun 24, 2021

Israel-Nepal ties & Nepal at UN

Arun Ranjit
TIES: Israel map, Israeli Ambassador to Nepal & Nepal Flag
TIES: Israel map, Israeli Ambassador to Nepal & Nepal Flag

‘Without good foreign policy state tends to lose’

After the heart to heart touch between David Gurion and B. P. Koirala, Nepal recognized Israel as a fully sovereign independent nation in1960.

The then PMs of Israel David Gurion (left) and Nepal B.P. Koirala. Photo: Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu

David Gurion was the founder and the first Prime Minister of Israel whereas B.P. Koirala was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Nepal.

Almost 12 years after the establishment of the State of Israel that was proclaimed on May 14, 1948 by David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, Nepal took bold steps and established diplomatic relationships with the tiny Jewish State Israel located in the Middle East region becoming the first South Asian countries.

Better not to forget, when Nepal was dismantled by the catastrophic earthquake in 2015, Israel was among the first countries to send humanitarian aid to Nepal. And while Nepal was facing the COVID pandemic, of course, as other nations Israel was also on the front lines.

Besides the humanitarian assistance, thousands of Nepalese educated and general farmers were well-trained in agriculture. Now those have been benefiting thousands of Nepalese in economic sustainability. Also, thousands of Nepali labourers working in Israel are contributing in Nepalese economy.

The country never Colonized-Nepal is still in a down-grade economy but the country sandwiched between the world’s giant populated and democratic counties are praised in art, history, culture, nature, people etc. Though, Nepal is not at the stage of extending its physical support to Israel but Israel has been contributing on many physical, social, economic assistance to Nepal. The friendship foundations of Nepal-Israel are based on the principles of trust, goodwill and mutual understanding to build huge potential for future cooperation. Both the nations have been enjoying the relationships fruitfully at heightened levels.

Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder-Goldberger. Photo: Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu

While having a conversation the other day, Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder-Goldberger admired Nepal and Nepalese astonishingly. Talking about bilateral, multilateral and humanitarian issues, it was clearly a smiley face of the ambassador.

Sipping coffee, while the issues talked about Nepal’s role in the United Nations, the Israeli Ambassador Hanan Goder, who is serving second time in Nepal from late October 2020, seems frown from the role being played by Nepal. Alas! his face turned annoyed.

Ambassador Goder had wide experience about Nepal as he had also served as Israeli envoy in Nepal from 2011 to 2014.

While reviewing the Resolutions tabled at the United Nations in nearly a decade history regarding Israel, Palestine, human rights, refugee, nuke proliferation in the Middle East, Syrian Golan heights, Hamas, Iran, Lebanon, etc. Nepal voted in favor of most of those Resolutions that had made the Israeli envoy miserable.

Nepal’s Foreign Policy is based on Non-Aligned Movement (NAM); front runner for world peace abiding faith in the Charter of the United Nations. Today, Nepal has diplomatic relations with 169 countries among the 193 member countries of the United Nations. Among those, Israel is one of the “Need with Deed Best Friends.”

 “Nepal’s foreign policy will not be affected whether Nepal votes or not or by showing Abstention or Absent as other small countries do the same during the voting time on Resolutions at the UN General Assembly,” the Ambassador believes.

As Nepal and Israel are very good friends, the ambassador of Israel to Nepal Goder said Nepal can take her decision “very wisely” in every issue at the UN.

“I love Nepal very much. So, while endorsing the Nepal beneficial projects the Jerusalem based officers always raise their finger to me and re-think always based on Nepal’s activities at the UN while the issue on Israel comes,” the Ambassador remarked.

Enquiring about the issue with the officers at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), they said “We have many hot issues to deal but due to lack of …this and that……Nepal is lagging behind,” In an off the record, “MoFA lacked experienced diplomats and proper guidance as well as bethink people first rather than country first policy,” they voiced and stressed on “strong guided foreign policy.”

UN Headquarters in the New York. Credit: Mike Segar/Reuters

“Nepal being a member of the UN, she is free to vote on “Y & N” in any kind of Resolutions tabled at the UNGA. But one thing must be cleared that there must be experienced diplomats who could analyze every issue thoroughly and if needed has an ability to sideline “unnecessary influence” that comes.” said a diplomat at the UN Mission.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) building at Singh Durbar Secretariat

“Nepal’s foreign policy needed vital review the way it reaches in foreign policy decisions,” said the former ambassador of Nepal to the United Nations (not to quote the name) and stressed on “Nepal must revise and make high-impact diplomacy management, placing the right and experienced human resources able to take charge of accountability to make dynamically changes.”

Being one of the founding members of the NAM, Nepal needs to reanalyze every Resolutions at the UNGA from the wide angels of beneficiaries and mutilation based on Nepal’s foreign policy along with political, social, economic, international affairs and status before deciding “Yes or No” or choosing options of “Abstention” or “Absent.”

Every nation has to have political incentives and ambition to adopt an active role in the UN. The state needs to spend time, effort and money on working within the UN. Moreover, the governing elite in the state has to consider it possible to have a say within the UN and decision-making within the UN activities.

As the government’s interest in taking the role and prioritizing their work within the UN must be perceived, the small states hence need to find their niches having ability to take initiatives and the necessary diplomatic skills to pursue their initiatives and fulfil their responsibilities with good knowledge of their chosen issues.

Foreign policy decision-making plays an enormous role in the international affairs of a state. Without a properly formulated foreign policy, a state tends to lose its position and prestige in world affairs.

Foreign policy is quite important for a country no matter who is in power. If leadership is good, a small state will be able to present itself as more neutral than others. Though international factors play a major role in foreign policy, domestic determinants including socio-economic development and political regime are more important that might influence the nature and course of its foreign policy.

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