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SVG asks US not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

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The mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) and the rule of international law give all nations the same voice, no matter how big or small they are.

And it was in this frame that St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) asked the United States (US) to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel.

Earlier this week, President of the US Donald Trump announced that the US formally recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will begin the process of moving its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The international media later reported that the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is yet another painful blow to Palestinian morale, as it once again showcases how international powers act without acknowledgement for, or recognition of, Palestinians, despite them being the population that bears the brunt of the ramifications.

In response to Trump’s stance, the Government of SVG, in a press release issued on Tuesday from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “…such recognition would imperil the internationally-agreed Two-State Solution, destabilize the Middle East region, and invalidate the important role of the United States as an honest broker and driver of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”

After the press release was issued, it was questioned by some Vincentians, with the main argument being that this country was a small island in the Caribbean with no voice.

But on Wednesday at Cabinet Room, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that even though we are a small country, under the UN system and with international law, there is an equality of states.

“We have a position on this matter and the position is consistent with the Oslo Accords, with the UN Security Council resolutions and the UN General Council Assembly resolutions,” said Gonsalves.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’s press release stated that the position on the Israeli-Palestinian issue has been reaffirmed in various agreements, including the Camp David Accords, the Oslo Accords, and the Roadmap for Peace, proposed by the Quartet on the Middle East, all of which included the United States as a key interlocutor.

“This is a matter which concerns all of humanity and we cannot have international law being agreed upon in some respects and disagreed in others because as small states, international law is the foundation for us to be able to conduct our affairs in an orderly manner,” stated Gonsalves.

He noted that when agreements are made, or you come to an understanding in matters of this nature, the agreement should be upheld.

As it relates to this issue, Gonsalves noted, “It is a final status issue to be decided between the Israelis and the Palestinians by way of an agreement and not for unilateral treatment.”

He said that if one reads any of the resolutions out of the UN on this issue, one gets the same basic theme and position that SVG shares on the issue.

“We have set out with crystal clarity in a declaration, where we are urging the US government to refrain from recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital”, said Gonsalves, who noted that this simple position is shared worldwide by countries in Europe to countries in Asia.

“…everybody is opposing this,” he said.

“Jerusalem, whatever the political configuration in that city, it is a city of three important universal faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam and any attempt to put political control in the hands of one state which has as its religion…represents a danger to compromise other worshippers and other persons who see this city as important for all faiths and for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine and our position is all clear,” said Gonsalves.

The Prime Minister said that SVG has very good relations with the state of Palestine and so has other CARICOM countries, which have been supportive of the UN recognizing the state of Palestine and also supportive of all the resolutions of the UN.

SVG’s Government, on Wednesday, signed four agreements with Palestine. The four agreements signed are related to international cooperation, a framework agreement, an agreement on health and an agreement on agriculture.