Status of Jerusalem
“The General Assembly,
Reaffirming its relevant resolutions, including resolution 72/15 of 30 November 2017 on Jerusalem,
Reaffirming also the relevant resolutions of the Security Council, including resolutions 242 (1967) of 22 November 1967, 252 (1968) of 21 May 1968, 267 (1969) of 3 July 1969, 298 (1971) of 25 September 1971, 338 (1973) of 22 October 1973, 446 (1979) of 22 March 1979, 465 (1980) of 1 March 1980, 476 (1980) of 30 June 1980, 478 (1980) of 20 August 1980 and 2334 (2016) of 23 December 2016,
Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,
Bearing in mind the specific status of the Holy City of Jerusalem and, in particular, the need for the protection and preservation of the unique spiritual, religious and cultural dimensions of the city, as foreseen in relevant United Nations resolutions, Stressing that Jerusalem is a final status issue to be resolved through negotiations in line with relevant United Nations resolutions,
Expressing, in this regard, its deep regret at recent decisions concerning the status of Jerusalem,
1. Affirms that any decisions and actions which purport to have altered the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council, and in this regard calls upon all States to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem, pursuant to Security Council resolution 478 (1980);
2. Demands that all States comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem, and not recognize any actions or measures contrary to those resolutions; A/ES-10/L.22 2/2 17-22856
3. Reiterates its call for the reversal of the negative trends on the ground that are imperilling the two-State solution and for the intensification and acceleration of international and regional efforts and support aimed at achieving, without delay, a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East on the basis of the relevant United Nations resolutions, the Madrid terms of reference, including the principle of land for peace, the Arab Peace Initiative 1 and the Quartet road map,2 and an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967;
4. Decides to adjourn the tenth emergency special session temporarily and to authorize the President of the General Assembly at its most recent session to resume its meeting upon request from Member States.”
Grenville Phillips II, founder of Solutions Barbados, a political entity in Barbados, wrote about Barbados’ vote on the recent United Nations Resolution regarding the status of Jerusalem. Mr. Phillips chose to criticize the Barbados Government for voting with 127 other member states in favour of the Resolution.
His critique was premised on the point that voting in favour with 127 others meant that Barbados would incur the wrath of the United States of America as promised by the US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley. In her pre-vote speech, Haley categorically promised “she will be taking names” of countries that vote to reject Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
I am astounded that some 51 years after our Independence and after the Father of Barbados Independence, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, set the standard for this nation as being “friends of all, satellites of none”, we can have a political party trying to capture the reins of government which is espousing a view that we have to succumb to intimidation and bullying.
I have purposely reproduced the entire text of the UN Resolution at the beginning of this column to make the point that this Resolution is very clear on its intent and purpose. Nowhere in the text does it embarrass or disrespect the United States nor seek to insult them as Grenville Phillips would have us believe. It simply reinforces the principle that UN Resolutions should be respected and upheld. A principle that Israel and the US have abused with impunity over the years.
This Resolution, in fact, reaffirms all previous Resolutions that speak to the status of Jerusalem and the Palestinian people in relation to Israel. Resolutions that time and time again Israel refuses to recognize and abide by, aided and abetted by the United States. One hundred and twenty eight (128) countries chose to vote in favor of the Resolution in spite of the US bullying, yet Mr. Phillips implies ignorance on the part of the Barbados Government because they also voted on principle.
Mr Phillips in his first take titled “They know not what they did” sought to juxtapose a number of things with the vote. He felt Barbados made a grave mistake by angering the US and this would hurt us and generations to come. He posited that in our dire economic situation we cannot afford to anger the bigger, stronger person on the block. In other words, the weaker one should succumb to the bullying tactics of the stronger regardless of whether it is right or wrong to do so.
If this is the type of political leadership we are to look forward to from Solutions Barbados, I am aghast. Secondly, he regurgitated an opinion found among some Christians that this conflict is a religious one between Jews and Muslims. He stated: “The Arab-Israeli conflict is primarily a religious conflict, and not a political one for politicians to get themselves involved in.” This position is so ludicrous that I cannot believe that a leader of a political party would actually subscribe to such thinking.
In my column a few weeks ago, I pointed out the following: “Hanan Ashrawi, a prominent Palestinian activist and peace negotiator for years, is a Christian and she has made clear her opposition to the Trump administration’s decision. Writing in the New York Times, she states: “With his announcement on Wednesday (that the US was recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital), Mr. Trump has legitimized Israel’s illegal actions and sent the message that the United States no longer has any regard for international conventions or norms, and that might and power prevail over justice and the law.
“By rewarding its claim on Jerusalem with official recognition, Mr. Trump is giving Israel a free hand to accelerate its policies of creeping annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories and its deliberate attempts to erase the Palestinians’ historical, political, cultural and demographic presence in historic Palestine.”
For those who have chosen to accept that Israel has a legitimate right to Palestinian lands based on their Biblical interpretation, Ashrawi, in a BBC interview, countered: “I belong to the oldest Christian tradition in the world and I don’t believe that God ordained that the world has to be unjust to the Palestinians. We are the original Christians, we are the owners of the land, we are people who have been here for centuries. How dare they come here and give me Biblical lessons and treatises and absolute dispositions…?”
Mr Phillips conveniently ignores the fact that the Palestinian struggle is one fought by Palestinians of all backgrounds including Muslims, Christians, Jews and even atheists.
In his second take on the issue which, according to Mr. Phillips, he felt the need to do after a robust response on social media, he argued: “In assessing claims of truth, we should evaluate evidence. What is the available evidence? The US decided to move its Israel embassy to Jerusalem. Israel did not object. However, the UN objected and tried to force the US to change its decision. It did this by crafting a non-binding resolution to condemn the US before all nations at the UN General Assembly.”
I have dealt with his characterization of the Resolution as condemnation, which I reject. And again I draw attention to the Resolution, the full text above, which is very clear and reiterates all previous UN Resolutions and the need to abide by them for furthering peace and stability in the region.
In my next column, I will speak to Mr. Phillips’ bizarre claim “This is not bullying; rather, it is a response to being bullied.”