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NEW YORK NEW YORK: Barbados and neighbours on Palestine’s side


Tony Best

NEW YORK NEW YORK: Barbados and neighbours on Palestine’s side

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How world Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours vote in the United Nations General Assembly on the issue of the future of Palestine?
Most, if not all, would back the move.
Essentially, what CARICOM states want is sovereignty for Palestine next door to Israel whose right to exist would also be assured and recognized in any agreement.
But with Washington threatening to veto the Palestinian application should it go to the UN Security Council, and European nations pressuring the Palestinians to drop their bid for full membership, the issue remains unresolved.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart described it as “the protracted conflict between Israel and the Palestinians”.
As he sees it, the matter boils down to “a disturbing anomaly”. He said “everyone knows what the solution is”, but the “only thing preventing a resolution of the issue is an unhappy convergence of dysfunctional political currents at the domestic level”.
But it’s more than domestic.
Washington and the Europeans have a deep interest in it, largely driven by the strong Israeli lobby that opposes the proposed “two-state solution” which has been on the table for more than a decade, and on which Barbados has spoken for at least 25 years.
In the end, the UN may fall back on Plan B, which would give Palestine the same membership as the Roman Catholic Holy See.
Trinidad and Tobago “supports the quest of the Palestinians to have a state of their own with secure borders alongside the state of Israel whose borders must also be secure and free from terrorist attacks”, to Minister of Foreign affairs Dr Surujrattan Rambachan told the assembly.
Jamaica’s position was well articulated by its Deputy Prime Minister Dr Kenneth Baugh: “Jamaica remains unwavering in its support for a just, lasting and comprehensive agreement that recognizes the Palestinian state within the pre-1967 borders and guarantees the security” of Israel.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines said: “The collective voices of the international community are rising to a crescendo in support of full Palestinian statehood,” he said.
In Barbados’ case, Stuart insisted that while Israel has the right to security and benefit from full and undisputed recognition of the rest of the world, Palestinians “are entitled also to enjoy the fruits of prosperity within their own sovereign state”.
Grenada agrees. Prime Minister Tillman Thomas described as “just” the “aspirations of the people of Palestine for a state of their own”.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer backs full membership for Palestine but failing that, he argued for a status from a non-voting “entity” to observer state.
Suriname’s President Desire Delano Bourterse was on that page.
“Suriname has . . . taken the decision to recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, worthy of becoming a full-fledged member of this world organization,” Bouterse said.
The truth is, Palestine remains divided on recognizing Israel but Palestinian factions are demanding a stop to Israeli settlement construction.
Hence the intractable problem which wouldn’t be solved without Washington’s approval.

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