Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Israel have had a complex and often overlooked relationship in international affairs. This article delves into the historical, political, and economic ties between the two nations, examining the extent of support and areas of cooperation or tension.

Historical Background

PNG, a Pacific Island nation, gained independence from Australia in 1975. Since then, it has pursued a foreign policy aimed at maintaining good relations with various countries, including Israel. Israel, on the other hand, has made efforts to establish diplomatic relations with Pacific Island nations, recognizing their potential support in international forums.

One of the key events in PNG-Israel relations was the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1978. However, the relationship has been marked by periods of tension and realignment, influenced by regional dynamics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Political Ties

Diplomatic Recognition and Representation

PNG and Israel maintain diplomatic relations, with both countries having embassies in each other’s capitals. However, the level of representation has fluctuated over the years, reflecting the changing dynamics of their relationship.

In 2019, PNG made a significant move by opening an embassy in Jerusalem, becoming one of the few countries to have an embassy in the contested city. This decision was met with mixed reactions from the international community, with some praising PNG’s support for Israel and others criticizing the move as a violation of international law.

Voting Patterns at the United Nations

PNG’s voting patterns at the United Nations (UN) have been closely watched as an indicator of its stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While PNG has generally supported resolutions critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, it has also occasionally abstained or voted in favor of Israel on certain issues.

The influence of regional blocs, such as the Pacific Islands Forum, and major powers like Australia and China, has played a role in shaping PNG’s voting behavior at the UN.

Economic and Trade Relations

The economic ties between PNG and Israel have been relatively modest, with limited bilateral trade and investment. However, both countries have expressed interest in exploring opportunities for cooperation in areas such as agriculture, technology, and tourism.

PNG’s rich natural resources and Israel’s expertise in areas like water management and agricultural technology could potentially open doors for mutually beneficial partnerships.

Security and Defense Cooperation

PNG and Israel have engaged in limited security and defense cooperation, primarily focused on counterterrorism efforts and intelligence sharing. Israel has provided training and capacity-building assistance to PNG’s security forces in the past.

However, the extent of this cooperation has been relatively limited, and there is potential for further collaboration in areas such as peacekeeping operations and maritime security.

Cultural and People-to-People Ties

Cultural and people-to-people ties between PNG and Israel have been modest but growing. Educational and academic exchanges, as well as tourism initiatives, have facilitated cultural immersion and understanding between the two nations.

The presence of small diaspora communities in both countries has also contributed to fostering cultural connections and promoting mutual understanding.

Regional Dynamics and Geopolitical Considerations

PNG’s relationship with Israel is influenced by its broader regional and global alliances. As a member of the Pacific Islands Forum, PNG’s foreign policy decisions are shaped by the collective interests of the region.

Additionally, the influence of major powers like Australia, China, and the United States cannot be overlooked, as they have vested interests in the Pacific region and may seek to sway PNG’s stance on certain issues, including its relations with Israel.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict also casts a shadow over PNG’s ties with Israel, as well as its relations with other Middle Eastern countries. PNG has traditionally supported the Palestinian cause, which could potentially strain its relationship with Israel if tensions escalate.

Future Prospects and Challenges

Looking ahead, there are opportunities for PNG and Israel to deepen their cooperation in various areas, such as trade, investment, agriculture, and technology transfer. However, several challenges and potential roadblocks remain:

  • Balancing Regional and Global Interests: PNG will need to navigate the complex web of regional and global alliances, ensuring that its relationship with Israel does not come at the expense of its ties with other nations or regional blocs.

  • Stance on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: PNG’s position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will continue to be a crucial factor in shaping its relationship with Israel. Any significant shifts in policy or escalation of tensions could strain diplomatic ties.

  • Economic Considerations: Strengthening economic ties and attracting Israeli investment may be contingent on PNG’s ability to provide a stable and conducive business environment, as well as addressing potential barriers to trade and investment.

  • Public Opinion and Domestic Politics: Domestic political dynamics and public opinion in PNG could influence the government’s approach towards Israel, particularly in the lead-up to elections or in response to regional or global events.

As the relationship between PNG and Israel continues to evolve, open dialogue, mutual understanding, and a commitment to finding common ground will be essential for navigating the complexities and fostering a constructive partnership.


The relationship between PNG and Israel is a multifaceted and dynamic one, shaped by historical ties, political considerations, economic interests, and regional dynamics. While the two nations have maintained diplomatic relations and explored areas of cooperation, their relationship has also been marked by periods of tension and realignment.

As PNG navigates its foreign policy priorities and seeks to balance regional and global interests, its stance towards Israel will continue to be closely watched. Ultimately, the future of PNG-Israel relations will depend on the ability of both nations to find common ground, address challenges, and capitalize on opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation.

Additional Resources

FAQ: Does PNG Support Israel?

Papua New Guinea (PNG) does not have an official embassy in Israel, and does not have formal diplomatic relations with the nation of Israel.

What is the stance of PNG Prime Minister James Marape on Israel?

Prime Minister James Marape of PNG has not made any public statements in support of or against Israel.

Is Jerusalem recognized as the universal capital by PNG?

PNG has not officially recognized Jerusalem as the universal capital of any nation.

Does PNG have any plans to open an embassy in Israel?

As of now, there are no official plans for PNG to open an embassy in Israel.

Does PNG have any affiliations with Palestine?

PNG does not have any formal political affiliations with Palestine.

Has the PNG government shown any support for Israel in the past?

There have been no known instances of the PNG government showing support for Israel in the past.

Is the city of Jerusalem considered a contested city by PNG?

PNG has not taken an official stance on the status of Jerusalem as a contested city.