While some celebrate PM Holness’ trip to Israel, I was taken aback by it to my months of studies on apartheid South Africa and the atrocities that blacks once suffered in that country. I was reminded of the atrocities which my hero Mandela fought fervently against. Anyone who has done even the least bit of South African history would understand the pain that blacks went through up to the end of apartheid; the segregation into black vs white South Africa, the unfair distribution of resources, the ceasing of lands under black ownership… Oh I feel the pain of the many who were massacred, who were locked away in prison camps to rot away- just because they dared to seek rights for blacks!
But even as I was taken aback to South Africa’s plight, I had to quickly bring myself to the reality that that’s the plight of Palestinians today who have lost most of their arable land to Israel, whose expertise PM Holness now seek in agriculture; whose plight to economic freedom has been stunted by the Israelis whose cooperation PM Holness now seeks on issues relating to the economy; whose blood is all over the hands of Netanyahu and his soldiers as they constantly live in fear of blazing guns and rattling bombs but PM seeks partnership on dealing with crime and security.
Mr PM, we wish to be unequivocally informed of Jamaica’s position on Palestine and by extension the atrocities that are being committed against their people on a daily basis. PM Netanyahu was quick to note Jamaica’s abstention from a UNESCo vote which denies Jewish ties to Temple Mount and the Western Wall which have been contentious aspects of the ongoing conflict.
With the current geopolitical issues surrounding Israel and the emerging corruption allegations against Netanyahu, PM Holness’ visit could not have been more ill-timed. His Foreign Affairs Minister and advisors on international affairs should have been much more cautious about this visit at this particular time.
While I am for partnerships leading to prosperity for all Jamaicans, I am opposed to Jamaica and its leaders bending over to leaders who have actively and still support gross violations of the rights of an entire group of people on unjustifiable grounds. Israel’s actions toward Palestine effectively place them in the same category as the government of apartheid South Africa and as we did in the case of South Africa where we avoided deepening ties with a discriminatory government, we should do the same where Israel is concerned. Having knowledge of the fact that Jamaica was one of the first nations to take a stance against apartheid South Africa then to resort to this causes immense disgust at the actions of PM Holness and his team.
Create partnerships for prosperity Mr Prime Minister. Travel as much as you wish but know that visit to apartheid states are not visits in the name of all Jamaicans. Certainly, it is not a visit in my name.
Despite the justifications that your operatives attempt to give, this ill-timed and ill-advised trip was a wrong call and wrong move Mr Prime Minister!