miércoles 29 de mayo de 2024
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Why the Caribbean Community Backs Palestinian Statehood

Bangladesh  (TGP): With foreign ministers of the 14 mostly Anglophone sovereign member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc scheduled to meet later this month -as they regularly do- to “settle … positions on issues on the regional and international agenda,” there is an air of renewed optimism about the co-ordination of foreign policies among the regional grouping’s countries.

By Dr. Nand C. Bardouille

   The meeting will take place just days after they proudly joined with the rest of the international community in resoundingly (albeit, largely symbolically) lending support to Palestine’s bid for full United Nations (UN) membership.

   (In the 193-member UN General Assembly -the Organization’s principal “deliberative, policymaking and representative organ”- the United States was the notable exception to this diplomatic positioning.)

   By extension, against the backdrop of the war in Gaza and amid the scrutiny the conflict has attracted on humanitarian grounds, the notion of a Palestinian state also received overwhelming support.

   This is a diplomatic development that must be placed in context: The UN Security Council recently failed to adopt a draft resolution to that effect. (In effect, the General Assembly urged the Security Council to give “favorable consideration” to Palestine’s request for full UN membership.)

   The U.S. stood in the way -in a context where that “council must recommend a potential member’s application to the General Assembly for final approval and admission.”

   Barbados responded by announcing its official recognition of Palestine as a State. Shortly thereafter, Jamaica followed. Earlier this month, coming on the heels of a high-profile visit to the country of a delegation from the Bureau of the UN Committee for the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Trinidad and Tobago followed suit. So, too, did The Bahamas.

   They picked up where other Caricom members, comprising small states, left off some years ago.

   Since 2019, up until last month, there was a broken line of recognition. In the 2010s, 10 Caricom member states successively threw their weight behind Palestinian statehood.

   Today, all Caricom member states speak with one voice on Palestinian statehood.  (Not only do they view this approach as lending to the two-state solution, but as righting a situation where diplomatic relations with Israel have long been in place.)

   In all, these states have also backed the international community’s (with some exceptions) multiple attempts in the UN to stop the carnage in Gaza.

   This is yet another, momentous period in international politics when they have diplomatically stood their ground and stood apart from the United States.

   Other moments also come to mind. The Iraq War is one that is especially consequential; in that, notwithstanding intense diplomatic pressure to do otherwise, Caricom leaned on a matter of principle.

   The wider region and the Middle East also stand out as recent examples of such moments.

   As post-colonial states, which are all too familiar with occupying powers and hegemony qua hierarchy, Caricom members have traditionally used recognition of the State of Palestine to amplify their interests regarding self-determination of the West’s ‘others’.

   Yet it also provides a window into the United States’ diplomatic isolation on the Gaza war relative to the Caribbean, stemming from Washington’s all-out support for an Israel Gaza policy that has been widely criticized.

   It has brought about unprecedented suffering to Gazans, threatening regional escalation and undermining international security. And it has attracted widespread criticism from foreign policy establishment insiders and third parties, alike.

   The wider context is that seven-plus months since Israel and Hamas have been at war, the Israeli side has also lost international standing. Condemned for its military conduct during the conflict, Israel has found itself in legal crosshairs in more ways than one.

   While Caribbean leaders and policymakers are keenly aware that the Biden administration has tried to turn the screws on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, it is also not lost on them that there has not been any letup in US support for Israel’s conduct of its war in Gaza.

   The tide may finally be turning -somewhat. This is as Netanyahu is digging his heels in vis-à-vis his stance on the conflict, but also as a cross-section of Israeli-aligned groups have railed against President Biden for such messaging.

   In addition, Biden’s Gaza war-related stance has cost him support among his progressive base.

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The Geopolitics (TGP), launched in 2017, endeavors to become a primary source of journalism, analysis, and commentary on international relations, world politics and a wide range of issues of global importance, from history to economics, international development to global terrorism.
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