CARICOM Disarray on UN General Assembly “Status of Jerusalem” Vote

Submitted by Mohammed Degia

Al-Quds. Photo courtesy of worldbulletin.net

The Caribbean Community group of countries or CARICOM has for a long time feigned at having a common foreign policy. While this may be true with respect to some issues on the international agenda, particularly in the area of development, this pretence of unity dissipates on high-stake political matters. One only has to look at the USA invasion of Iraq, the China/Taiwan recognition question, the Shiprider Agreement, Article 98 Agreements, ALBA or Venezuela. Add to this list, yesterday’s UN General Assembly vote on the status of Jerusalem.

Donald Trump and his administration’s many shenanigans have dominated the news for many months. For the past two and a half weeks, the events surrounding Trump’s announcement that the USA recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will relocate its Embassy to there from its current location in Tel Aviv have been paid considerable attention to worldwide.

Following this unilateral announcement by the Trump administration and the concern expressed by the international community, a draft UN Security Council resolution was tabled in response. The text was put to a vote on Monday 18th and expectedly the US used its veto to thwart its adoption. The draft document spoke to the need to abide by previous Security Council resolutions on the status of Jerusalem. If it had been adopted, the resolution would have affirmed “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status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council.” It would also have called on all States “to refrain from the establishment of diplomatic missions in the Holy City of Jerusalem.” Fourteen of the fifteen Security Council members- the other four permanent members and all 10 non-permanent members- voted in favour.

The US Ambassador to the UN, former South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley once again showcased her diplomatic immaturity and her seeming intent to rival one of her predecessors, John Bolton, in his disastrous stint. After her tirade at the Council vote, she followed up with tweets and a letter to UN member states warning them not to support an anticipated UN General Assembly resolution on the issue. According to her, the US would take names of those who voted in favour of the resolution. Not to be outdone, Trump also threatened countries if they supported the resolution, contending that votes would be watched and aid cut.

A UN General Assembly resolution from 1950 called “Uniting for Peace” makes a provision for the General Assembly to consider a matter immediately “if the Security Council, because of lack of unanimity of the permanent members, fails to exercise its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security in any case where there appears to be a threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression”. Acting in their respective roles as Chair of the Arab Group and Chair of the Summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Yemen and Turkey requested the President of the General Assembly to resume the tenth emergency special session of the General Assembly and tabled the same draft resolution for the deliberation of the special session.

Final tally of UNGA vote on “Status of Jerusalem” resolution. Photo courtesy of un.org

UN General Assembly resolutions are non-binding so this would have only moral weight and be a symbolic demonstration of the international community’s opposition to Trump’s actions. The resolution was adopted by the General Assembly with a vote of 128 in favour, 9 against and 35 abstaining. The USA and Israel cast negative votes naturally. They were joined by Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau, four of the set of Pacific islands that always vote on these types of resolutions in the way they are directed to by certain countries. Guatemala, Honduras and Togo rounded out the no votes, unable obviously to withstand the pressure they had been placed under. Those abstaining were a medley of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Eastern European countries along with Australia and Canada. A similar assortment of African, Asian, Caribbean, Latin American and Eastern European countries numbering 21 did not participate in the voting. Thus 128 countries expressed unreserved backing for the resolution while in one way or another 65 did not support it. Although it was a decisive statement of validation for the status of Jerusalem and a rejection of Trump’s action, it was in no way an overwhelming victory. Of particular note is that Nikki Haley has invited these 65 countries to a reception on January 3rd to thank them for their friendship.

UNGA voting screen showing breakdown of how countries voted on “Status of Jerusalem” resolution. Photo courtesy of trendsmap.com

I will not delve into the international legal arguments about the status of Jerusalem and the illegal nature of the unilateral US action. Enough has been written about that. Neither will I, even though I am tempted to, address certain stark truths about Palestine and Jerusalem such as:

  1. the fact that the Palestinian Authority is a corrupt entity that colludes fully with Israel and the USA in the occupation of Palestine and acts as an enforcer for the Zionists;
  2. the so-called Muslim world is a huge mess and many of its tyrants and despots, led by the Egyptians, aid and abet the oppression of Muslims and Christians in Palestine. I had touched on the Egyptian governments hypocrisy on Palestine when I wrote about an Egyptian Minister’s racist remarks last year;
  3. Oslo and the so-called peace process is a farce that was created specifically to legitimise the colonial settler entity of Israel and ensure that if the Palestinians do ever have a state, it will be an unviable set of Bantustans. Edward Said tackled this masterfully in his “Peace and its Discontents.”

I want to touch on CARICOM and the way some of the group chose to vote or not vote. CARICOM countries speak often and loudly about how powerful, large states should not marginalise those that are small or weaker. They stress the importance of multilateralism and international law in this regard and how important these norms are in ensuring all voices are heard. One wonders therefore how seven of the fourteen CARICOM countries that are members of the UN found themselves not supporting this resolution. A resolution which is clear cut about international law and the necessity of states to abide by it. The unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is in direct contravention of Security Council resolutions and international law. Two key allies of Israel and the USA that are permanent members of the Security Council –France and the UK- voted in favour of the resolution. That is telling. Yet, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago saw it necessary to reject international law. St. Kitts and Nevis and St. Lucia did not think it even necessary to participate in the voting. This is a preferred course of action employed for many years by some CARICOM countries and especially those from the OECS when there is a controversial vote. I have always thought it to be a cowardly way to deal with an uncomfortable subject.

Dealing with difficult topics is not something we in the Caribbean like to do and the reality is that the meetings of the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) and Heads of Government are largely talk shops where documents are churned out yearly with no clear strategy and no implementation of what little is contained in those documents. The region operates mostly in reactionary mode and is constantly playing catch up. I am unsure whether any attempt was made to coordinate a CARICOM position on the Jerusalem issue. I would not be at all surprised, based on my knowledge and experience of the region, to hear that there wasn’t any. Moreover, the region is prone to disunity and larger countries are well aware that the carrot and stick approach deployed in various ways is an effective tool to split the group and achieve their goals.

The way forward for CARICOM is a practical one. First, how can the region progress beyond this inertia to an actual dynamic foreign-policy coordinating process which produces bold, strategic actions? Second, how can the region move from paying lip service to multilateralism and international law to acting in a principled manner whenever these cogs of the global system are compromised? The answer rests in the two complimenting each other. The regional integration process requires a revival, both from a political perspective and at the bureaucratic level in the Secretariat. A CARICOM that is unified in understanding the challenges and opportunities presented by the international arena should certainly be able to confront them much more meaningfully and successfully. In addition, a CARICOM whose bonds are strong will be a much more difficult prospect for countries that depend on divide and rule and carrot and stick methods of diplomacy.

Of course this is all theoretical and easy to spell out on paper. In reality, we have a group of small islands clinging tightly to notions of sovereignty and political leaders in possession of large egos and for whom any sense of relinquishing a minuscule amount of power is beyond comprehension. This is one of the main reasons why the regional integration project has not been realised. The movement and interaction of people throughout the region has been an ongoing feature of life in the Caribbean for as long as anyone can remember. Instead of building on these deep people to people links through the creation of strong institutions, political leaders have simply paid lip service and engaged in useless rhetoric. It is time for the people of the region to demand more of their political leaders and hold them accountable.

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251 Comments on “CARICOM Disarray on UN General Assembly “Status of Jerusalem” Vote”

  1. John December 26, 2017 at 11:36 PM #

    The US has cut its spending at the UN.

    It has more to put into its own economy … “America First”.

    It’s economy will grow.

    People continue to import goods from the US, in fact, they will import more …. particularly Bajans whose Government just condemned the US for following the law its Congress passed!!

    However, I suspect the savings at the UN will help fund the Tax Cut which is the same thing, the economy will grow.

    America just completely out maneuvered the World by sticking to the simplest of principles.

    Trump’s prediction is the Democrats will be working with him in the New Year.

    They can’t come out and say they support the UN vote because it would mean they do not support the law of the land or the sovereignty of their own country.

    They can make noise about opposing any cuts in aid to countries who supported the vote.

    What else can they do but work with him, and when both sides work for a common good, the US taxpayer, the economy etc etc …. America will boom!!

    The Democrats then have a chance to avoid being wiped off the map.

    America has the UN and NATO where it wants them!!

    The US taxpayer has a bonus for Christmas.

    Trump’s voter base is over the moon.

    Israel has a present for Hanukkah.

    … and Trump is smiling!!

    What could be a better way for the US, Trump, … and Israel, to enter the New Year.

    The US and Trump will soar in the World’s estimation once the World realizes it has been had by an extremely deft move which no one saw coming!!

    Remember a few weeks ago Trump was supposed to have been vex at Nikki Haley ….. or so the media led people to believe.

    It was either misled or else it set out to mislead.

    Like

  2. Are-we-there-yet December 27, 2017 at 12:34 AM #

    John re. your 11.36 post above:

    Chupseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

    Like

  3. de pedantic Dribbler December 27, 2017 at 4:54 AM #

    @ Are-we, clearly @John has taken on that Chaddian role as rabble rousing provocateur just for the sake of being a nuisance. Some of his utterances as above are so devoid of any reasonable forethought and awareness of precedent that it’s impossible to believe he writes the nonsense for any reason other than to poke fun and incite a respose….steeeeuuuupse indeed!

    This latest UN defunding spectacle is harsh, no doubt but the theme is so engrained in republican orthodoxy that it would be impossible that UN folks do not prepare for the rhetoric and actions whenever there is republican president. They do.

    Under Pres Bush 44 there were immediate cuts to family planning related funds to a value of Millions of $$. Going back to his father there were similiar cut backs and strident calls then which increased to a crescendo in the name of ambassador John Bolton particularly,(but too folks like Wolfowitz) for the last 15 plus years, demanding more severe cut backs and complete US led restructuring of the UN. Those calls do not fall on deaf-ears.

    And how can they…the US contributes around 22% of the general UN budget which soars at over $5 Billion, and it also then commands almost 30% of the peace keeping military costs.

    To badly paraphrase: from whom much is taken, better do as they say!😁

    So negotiating or rather demanding this cut of $285 million is not unexpected, irrational or surprising….the US has been forcing the UN over many years to streamline costs and have effectively reduced its subventions in meaningful ways due to budget tightening and so on.

    But…. as usual kudos to the bellicose new admin for giving themselves credit for this…any other Repub admin would have demanded similiar concessions but Johnnie-come-latelys would make believe it’s all due to the power of this bombastic buffoon.

    Like

  4. Bush Tea December 27, 2017 at 7:11 AM #

    The problem with being a known person on a blog like BU is that when you are shown up to be a fraud or less knowledgeable than you profess (or thought) yourself to have been, your only REAL options are;
    1- to retreat in public disgrace
    2- to continue with the bravado upon which all your false dogma had been built
    3- or to accept the new knowledge and adjust your philosophical construct accordingly. (sackcloth and ashes)

    Carl Moore is of the first ilk
    Yardfowls are of the second ilk.
    Wisdom resides in the third option

    For some people, EVERYTHING is built on their sandy foundation of misinformation… change would be a bridge too far… so John continues with his idiocy …probably in the hope that other bloggers may stop destroying his sandy base of stupid arguments with logic, and he can continue happily until the real storm comes…

    This is why blogs SHOULD be anonymous …..UNLESS YOU ARE AS UPFRONT AND TRANSPARENT as are folks like Caswell, Jeff, Loveridge, and such persons.
    That way, when it becomes clear that you are an idiot, you can simple disappear like Dompey – and come back fresh under another pseudonym.

    Like

  5. lawson December 27, 2017 at 7:20 AM #

    So dribbler are you saying that the un was hoping for clitary to win???

    Like

  6. Artax December 27, 2017 at 7:23 AM #

    Bushie

    Yuh gine kill eeeme?

    Like

  7. John December 27, 2017 at 9:17 AM #

    Here is what happened in the UN Security Council a year ago.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/israeli-settlement-censure-back-on-u-n-calendar-1482515573

    http://www.businessinsider.com/un-resolution-israel-settlements-us-obama-trump-2016-12

    The US let a motion of censure against Israel pass under Obama without vetoing it.

    Nuff words ensued to try to explain the US position a year ago!!!!

    Double talk.

    This year, The US rectified its position and enforced its law under Trump, the same law preceding presidents ignored.

    A couple of paragraphs was all that was needed from Nikki Haley to straighten things out.

    Simplicity itself because the US dealt in reality.

    Trump kicked up a fuss a year ago, this year he put his money where his mouth was and is.

    America, like Barbados is founded on the Bible.

    Israel has a special place in the Bible.

    Time our leaders realise their responsibilities and actually stand for something real without the incessant double talk.

    Like

  8. John December 27, 2017 at 9:32 AM #

    Bronte

    Some psychology!!

    You are either deeply concerned for your own skin and the possibility of being shown up as a fraud or have a grossly over inflated opinion of your self importance.

    Our worst fears are often realized.

    All you have to do is stick to what you know and don’t try to pretend you know something you really don’t.

    That way, you let the message do the talking, you simply are a messenger.

    Keep it simple and deliver the message.

    If people choose to shoot the messenger, no sweat.

    If you have dealt in facts, those facts will stand and are irrefutable.

    The other conclusion is that you have no message to deliver and don’t rely on facts …. which has in fact, often been shown to be the case!!

    Like

  9. de pedantic Dribbler December 27, 2017 at 9:41 AM #

    @Lawson, so don’t you think them big donations to that fantabulous foundation had a purpose…

    Anyhow, nah name, nah investigator in my backside so I dun wid dat.

    Give your boy Trump time doh. He already got Vlad providing quite sizeable ‘donations’ of support and it looks like de fellas in Guatamala and other hot spots understanding how this donation process works.

    The only difference between clitary and donaling is size…go figure!

    Like

  10. David December 27, 2017 at 9:52 AM #

    Barbados and several of the countries that abstained from the UN vote have voted in the past on resolutions which recognized a two state solution, now on the altar of diplomatic expediency only a view are prepared to be consistent with their vote. Instead they prefer to cower in response to the bombastic jackass. The US has a right to disagree positions taken by countries but respect for sovereignty should also be respected.

    Like

  11. Sargeant December 27, 2017 at 10:35 AM #

    All a wunnah out to lunch on this whole Embassy move but in the immortal words of “Deep Throat” “Follow the money”. Remember Charlottesville when Trump blamed violence that occurred on both sides? He gave the Neo Nazis a platform which had been denied by most US Presidents for generations. People of Jewish faith were not happy and Gary Kohn (Trump’s handpicked Director of National Economic Council) went public with his criticism.
    However, it was the private criticism that stung Trump the most starting with his son-in-law and major donors to his election whom he hoped to keep in the fold for a possible reelection that mattered most.

    That’s where the money comes in and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and Rebekah Mercer (Mercer Foundation) contributed millions to his election bid and Trump wants to placate these quarters, what better way to make amends than by moving the Embassy something that Jewish organisations have been canvassing for years, even Bernie Sanders who has never endorsed anything that Trump did is for the move. For that matter what is Chuck Schumer’s position on the move? See I told yuh

    So, all the talk about bible and what country was created by God’s will or what the US does at the UN is moot, “money is a politician’s best friend” and Trump is looking down the road to reelection. Adelson and the Mercer family are happy, the majority of Jews have been Democrats so if he could solidify his small Jewish base and peel away some of the others from the Democrats to the GOP he would have succeeded. Moving the Embassy is a political calculation that will bring internal benefit, never mind the external opprobrium by some countries.

    Like

  12. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service December 27, 2017 at 1:24 PM #

    John Liesalot is poison to be avoided at all cost.

    Like

  13. millertheanunnaki December 27, 2017 at 1:38 PM #

    @ John December 27, 2017 at 9:17 AM
    “America, like Barbados is founded on the Bible.
    Israel has a special place in the Bible.”

    A special place alright! A place known for arranging for the killing of your sweet Jesus.

    How do you reconcile that, Sir John?

    The same way you can rationalize slavery on which both America and Barbados were built after decimating the indigenous people and stealing their lands in the name of your Judeo-Christian god?

    But you do have your god Yahweh on your side as you walk with your bible in one hand and a gun in the other as instructed below:

    God commanding Moses to kill:
    “They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man……..Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. (Numbers 31:7,17-18)”

    Kill everything that“breathes” from humans and animals! Deuteronomy 20:16

    Like

  14. Hal Austin December 27, 2017 at 2:37 PM #

    I am pleased to announce that Her Majesty The Queen, on the recommendation of Her Majesty’s Ministers in Barbados, has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of The Honourable Sandra Prunella Mason, Justice of Appeal, as Governor-General of Barbados, with effect from January 8, 2018.

    As previously pointed out, the appointment was made by the Queen, on the recommendation of the PM. That is what a constitutional monarchy is all about.

    Like

  15. millertheanunnaki December 27, 2017 at 3:07 PM #

    @ Hal Austin December 27, 2017 at 2:37 PM

    Who is arguing to the contrary?

    That process has been enshrined in the Constitution of Barbados since 1966:

    THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL:

    There shall be a Governor-General of Barbados who shall be appointed by Her Majesty and shall hold office during office or Her Majesty’ s pleasure and who shall be Her Majesty’ representative in Barbados.
    (1) Whenever the office of Governor-General is vacant or the holder of the office is absent from Barbados or is for any other reason unable to perform the functions of his office, those functions shall be performed-

    (a) by any person for the time being designated by Her Majesty in that behalf who is in Barbados and able to perform those functions; or

    (b) at any time when there is no person in Barbados so designated and able to perform those functions, by the holder of the office of Chief Justice; or

    (c) at any time referred to in paragraph (b) when the office of Chief Justice is vacant or the holder thereof is absent from Barbados or is for any other reason unable to perform those functions, by the President of the Senate.

    Like

  16. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service December 27, 2017 at 4:14 PM #

    Another messenger and pimp who will sit on her ass doing nothing worthwhile until she loses her mind, die in office or get tired, a useless post.

    Like

  17. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service December 27, 2017 at 4:15 PM #

    dies in office or gets tired, a useless post.

    Like

  18. John December 27, 2017 at 7:30 PM #

    Kill everything that“breathes” from humans and animals! Deuteronomy 20:16

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    …. and in the New Testament Jesus says

    Matthew 10:34King James Version (KJV)

    34 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

    What do you think is “a sword”?

    Like

  19. John December 27, 2017 at 9:58 PM #

    http://www.freebiblestudyguides.org/bible-teachings/armor-of-god-sword-of-spirit-word.htm

    There are swords and then, there are swords!!

    Like

  20. John December 28, 2017 at 12:25 AM #

    Came across this on the American Election

    Thought it was good

    Like

  21. John December 28, 2017 at 12:39 AM #

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/the-latest-us-vetoes-un-resolution-on-jerusalem/2017/12/18/2eb85b60-e41c-11e7-927a-e72eac1e73b6_story.html?utm_term=.92a54442e220

    Turkey!!!!!

    Turkey and Yemen proposed and seconded the resolution at the General Assembly.

    Egypt drafted the resolution in the Security Council.

    Who was the seconder?

    “Russia says it’s ready to become “an honest mediator” between the Israelis and Palestinians, a role the United States has played for years.

    Russia’s deputy U.N. ambassador Vladimir Safronkov offered Russia’s role in a speech to the U.N. Security Council Monday. It came after he supported a resolution, vetoed by the U.S., that would have required President Donald Trump to rescind his decision declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the U.S. as a mediator following Trump’s action.”

    So does President Abbas feel Israel will accept Russia as “an honest mediator”?

    It isn’t going to end well!!!

    Like

  22. Bush Tea December 28, 2017 at 8:21 AM #

    @ Miller
    God commanding Moses to kill:
    “They fought against Midian, as the LORD commanded Moses, and killed every man……..Now kill all the boys [innocent kids]. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man. (Numbers 31:7,17-18)”
    Kill everything that“breathes” from humans and animals! Deuteronomy 20:16
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    What does any sensible farmer do when there is an outbreak of bird flu, or some other contagious disease (in our case shiite flu) among a flock?

    …wait for the whole damn farm to be infected?

    If you know what is good for you…
    you better go and help Froon fix the shiite fountain in Hastings….

    Like

  23. John December 28, 2017 at 9:14 AM #

    I got that figured out already!!

    Like

  24. John December 28, 2017 at 9:17 AM #

    Turkey is a member of NATO, an ally of the US!!

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/18/nato-apologises-turkey-erdogan-ataturk-enemy-chart

    What sort of game is it playing?

    Like

  25. John December 28, 2017 at 12:41 PM #

    Turkey was also where Mary Fisher, a Quakeress, went in 1657/8 to deliver to the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire a “message from God”.

    Like

  26. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service December 28, 2017 at 5:48 PM #

    The evil of religion.

    Religion is the Black man’s burden, now is the time to shed it once and for all; says Philmore Carter,informing Black people (Africans) about the existence of mental religious slavery while calling for liberation.

    Religion is what Keeps the BLACKMAN from seeing who the real “DEVILS” are, even when those “DEVILS” are standing right in front of him.

    It is Religion that makes the poor BLACKMAN gives his last penny to the pastors and so called holy-men so they can get richer while the poor BLACKMAN continues to live in the mucky gutters all over the world.

    It is Religion that makes the BLACKMAN sacrifice everything that he has in this REAL life for everything in an imagined after life when he dies.

    It is Religion that makes the BLACKMAN sees a devil when he looks at his own reflection in the mirror, but sees an angle when he looks at the reflection of the other races.

    It is Religion that tells the BLACKMAN that if he ever tries to think for himself his loving and merciful god will burn him in hell forever.

    It is Religion why the BLACKMAN will never unite as one people, how can they when they have so many different foreign gods to divide them.

    It is Religion that makes the BLACKMAN worship a dead Jew as his god.

    It is Religion that makes the BLACKMAN pray to a black-rock five times a day.

    In short it is religion that is holding the BLACKMAN back, as long as the BLACKMAN keeps clinging to these foreign Religions he will forever “BURN” in HELL here on earth, he will forever be a mental slave for the other races to rule.

    BLACKMAN ANSWER ME THIS; HOW CAN THE GODS OF YOUR OPPRESSORS BE YOUR GOD? ONLY A TOTAL IDIOT WOULD WORSHIP SUCH A GOD. HOW CAN YOU WORSHIP THE SAME GODS WHO SAY IN ALL THEIR HOLY BOOKS THAT IT WAS OK FOR OTHER RACES TO ENSLAVE YOU? ….

    This is the age of enlightenment; BLACKMAN I beg you to please wake-up from your sleepless slumber, the future generation of BLACKMEN AND WOMEN are crying out to you from the womb and beyond ,begging you to please break the cycle of self hate , and being subservient to other people before they get here to represent the future BLACKMAN.

    http://www.reunionblackfamily.com/apps/blog/show/35419800-religion-is-the-black-man-s-burden-now-is-the-time-to-shed-it-once-and-for-all
    We must related to our history/the invent of the past in other to fashion the future. – Prof.James Smalls.

    Like

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