Wed | Aug 22, 2018

Ja Council of Churches warns Gov't about dealings with Israel

Published:Thursday | February 2, 2017 | 12:00 AM

The Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) has issued a strong warning to the Government, advising Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other leaders to be careful in their deliberations with Israel.

Holness recently visited the Middle East country against the background of his stated commitment to seek opportunities for deepened bilateral relations with various countries. Head of the Economic Growth Council (EGC) Michael Lee-Chin has also indicated that he will be meeting with top Israeli businessmen in less than two months in an effort to woo substantial investments from that country to Jamaica.

Persons, in addition to a Gleaner editorial, have expressed concern about Jamaica's involvement in international politics and the possible negative implications. Lee-Chin has said that the concerns are stupid.

The JCC yesterday called upon the Government of Jamaica to offer the country an explanation regarding the direction of the foreign policy as it relates to the state of Israel, and specifically, to the principles that Jamaica upholds and the relationship with the rest of the global community on matters of global concern.


Cautious diplomacy


"While supporting the right of Israel to exist as a nation and to live in peace within internationally defined boundaries, we also recognise the right of Palestinians to equal consideration. The state of Israel has raised concerns for the global community over several decades primarily in terms of its relationship with its Palestinian neighbours," the JCC said.

"Jamaica has maintained commercial and other relations with Israel for decades, and, like other nations globally, it has tempered that relationship with a measure of cautious diplomacy while working along with the rest of the global community to see the day when there will be a two-state solution to the current impasse," it continued.

"The timing of this visit and the announcement by an individual citizen of the intention to change the nature of Jamaica's relationship with the state of Israel could not be more inopportune."