Letters to the Editor

A declaration, a resolution and an abstention

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

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Dear Editor,

US President Donald Trump recently “decreed and declared” that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.

Uncritical pro-Israel Christians may have already decided that this declaration is prophesied in scripture some...ahm...where.

I surrendered my life to Jesus, that is, I became a Christian in 1967 and was then, until 1980, a member of the prophecy-hooked Assemblies of God denomination. I followed the news in '67 about several Arab nations coming against Israel in war and, based on the teaching I had received and what I had read in popular books on prophecy then, I became nervous that biblical prophecy would have been messed up, because there was no way, in the popular reckoning, that Israel could have survived that battle. But Israel beat off its enemies and reclaimed land it had lost, including east Jerusalem.

Up until 2015 I was quietly puzzled about statements that all of Jerusalem did not belong to Israel. In my uninformed mind it was, “Say what, after Israel beat off six or seven Arab nations and reclaimed lost sections of Jerusalem? Isn't it winner takes all anymore?”

Well, it's a good thing I never shared that question anywhere, because providentially a few years ago I sat in an international law lecture and learned that in international law the use of force in disputes is a big no-no (there are exceptions, but…). So, a nation that beats off another and claims land as a booty of war has no lawful claim to that land.

Those trained in international affairs, diplomacy, and related disciplines can continue the dialogue about Jamaica's real reasons for abstaining to vote at the UN on the US president's 'Jerusalem decree', but one other signal fact remains which I picked up in that lecture I mentioned earlier: The resolutions of the UN's General Assembly are not binding in any legal sense.

What this may mean (no certainty here) is that a pointless declaration has been matched by an equally pointless resolution and prompted Jamaica's problematic or principled abstention.

Clinton Chisholm





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