There seems to be some disbelief that Jamaica abstained on the recent UN resolution – that rejected Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the official capital of Israel.
For Jamaica’s opposition People National Party to express surprise shows a lack of awareness on their part on the developing relationship between the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) government and Israel.
In January this year, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness made an official visit to Israel. Where both Holness and Israel’s Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu cemented their diplomatic relationship. So much so that Netanyahu accepted Holness’ invitation to visit Jamaica.
At a press conference (in Jerusalem) Netanyahu said to Holness “Our relations are always friendly. We appreciate the fact that you didn’t join the recent vote against Israel, the absurd vote in UNESCO,”
That 2016 UNESCO vote was said to ignore Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. Of the 21 votes to be casted Jamaica was the only member nation absent from the vote.
So last week’s abstention will no doubt seal the Jamaican government’s friendship with Israel even further.
Was the Jamaican government promised tangible perks by the US and Israel governments? I hope so.
Jamaica could do with significant aid in modern technology and vehicles to combat the violent crime surge. So it would have been wise – as a bargaining chip -for the Jamaican government to demand tangible support from the US and Israelis in return for abstaining.
Deals is the nature of international politics. Every nation has a price. Today, International pride and solidarity works only up to a symbolic point in theory.
- Just ask Obama’s administration who turned a blind to Hezbollah’s drug trafficking and money laundering activities in order to clinch the Iran nuclear deal.
- Successive UK governments of all stripes have ignored human rights violations and bribery issues committed by Saudi Arabia in order to secure major arms sales for UK companies.
The outrage in the Arab world over Trump’s decision was predictable. Egypt and Jordan raised strong objections. But does anyone really think that Jordan and Egypt would – as a protest – refuse to continue receiving the billions in aid they get from the US?
Will Jamaica pay a heavy price in the Arab world for the vote abstention? It could. As many highly skilled Jamaicans are based there; especially in the aviation industry.
[So while there is constant focus by the UN on the Palestine/Israel impasse; the international community has quietly ignored China’s occupation of Tibet. Chinese government has – through slick lobbying and bargaining – managed to end any discussion at the UN on their occupation of Tibet. UN has not be discussed Tibet for over 2 decades.]
The Jamaican media and opposition PNP have simply been asleep in not cross checking the government’s new found stronger ties with Israel since 2016.
Now is an appropriate time for the PNP and Jamaican media to demand answers from the Jamaican government.
- What deals have been made with Israel since Holiness’ visit?
- Ahead of the vote did Israel’s UN officials discuss the resolution with their Jamaican counterparts?
- Was there personal pressure from the US and Israeli governments ahead of the vote?
- Was the Jamaican government promised substantial tangible perks or aid in return for abstaining?
- Did the Jamaican government demand aid and other deals for abstaining?
- Given the 2016 Temple Mount UNESCO no vote; did the Palestinian Authority and other Arab states consult the Jamaican government ahead of the Jerusalem vote?
- Has Israel or any Arab state spoken with the Jamaican government since last week’s vote?
Nikki Haley – US Ambassador to the UN – will host a function in January to thank those nations who did not support the UN resolution to condemn Trump’s Jerusalem decision.
Let’s hope the Jamaican delegation that attends the function will walk with a shopping list. They also should remind the US not to take any Jamaican vote (or no vote) at the UN for granted.