Jamaica Council of Churches questions PM’s visit to Israel

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

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THE Jamaica Council of Churches (JCC) yesterday raised questions about Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ visit to Israel and asked the Government to say whether there is a foreign policy shift concerning the State of Israel and Palestine.

Prime Minister Holness met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on January 12, and invited the Israeli prime minister to make an official visit to Jamaica. A Jamaica House release issued after the meeting said the two men discussed possibilities for cooperation in water, agriculture and domestic security.

"As a nation, which has been the object of imperialism, slavery and colonialism, and knows the struggle for freedom and independence, our foreign policy has been guided by our commitment to support people caught in any such struggles across the world," JCC said in a release yesterday. "Indeed, this nation can be proud of our history in this regard for the leading role we played in the boycotting of South Africa under Apartheid, and our role in the United Nations, and the International Court of Justice.

"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 JCC said.

It said that contrary to the misinformation present in the media, the stand-off between the two nations is not an issue between Jews and Muslims.

"Palestinians include Christians, and many of the educational, medical and social outreach programmes serving Palestinians are funded and operated by Christians from inside and outside of Palestine.

"We call upon the Government of Jamaica to offer the country an explanation regarding the direction of our foreign policy as it relates to the State of Israel, not only because the nation has a right to know but because it is a statement to the international community regarding the principles for which we stand and our relationship with the rest of the global community on matters of global concern," said the JCC.

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