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December 07
17:01 2018
THE REPORTER: News Staff, -  

Despite ongoing efforts to strengthen ties with the Government of Israel in the last two years, the Government of Belize issued a statement in support of the nation of Palestine, which has an ongoing territorial dispute with Israel.
GOB’s release came out on November 29, in observance of International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.

“On this day, Belize reiterates its support for and solidarity with the Palestinian people who struggle daily to maintain their dignity in the face of violence, lack of access to basic services and denial of their fundamental human rights, including the right to free movement,” GOB said.

The government went on to say that it remains concerned about the incremental and steady loss of Palestinian territory in contravention of United Nations resolutions including Resolution 181 on the partition of Palestine, which was adopted on November 29, 1947, then further reaffirmed its “long-held” position of support for the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to self-determination in the independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine.

GOB said that it wished both countries could arrive at a solution that would see Palestine living side by side with Israel, within secure and mutually recognized borders, and in peace and security with its neighbors. The statement of solidarity ties into the March 30 protests launched by the Palestinians, which was to be a 6-week campaign with protests at the Gaza Strip near the Gaza-Israel Border. However, Israel responded to the protests with military force, killing many Palestinians and injuring many more. An online blog called claims that over 270 Palestinians (52 of them children) died from Israeli military action.

GOB’s statement of solidarity followed a speech given by Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington, speaking at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly, in October, where he said that Belize was concerned that some of the UN’s core values were under attack while organs of the UN that were set up to reinforce the rule of law along with other international frameworks were being derailed for political expediency by nations making unilateral decisions.

While not making a direct accusation, Elrington was referring at the time to the 2017 decision by the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem in favor of Israel, an act which was later condemned by a non-binding resolution of the UN.

“Belize is supportive of all initiatives to put an end to languishing conflicts across the globe, which conduce to senseless death, destruction and suffering. We echo the cry of Palestinians for an independent state, within its 1967 borders, and with all attendant rights,” Elrington told the UN.

The move is bold considering that in January of 2017, Alon Navi, deputy chief of mission Embassy of Israel to Mexico Belize and the Bahamas presented his credentials to Governor General Sir Colville Young, and then immediately began talks with the GOB about projects that would strengthen ties between the two countries in sectors such as agriculture, homeland security and the arts.
In May, Gob issued a statement condemning Israeli brutality in the Gaza. By June, two Israeli Community Policing Experts held a training session for Belizean police officers and civilians employed in the carious security capacities.

A small band of activists gathered in Belmopan to protest the training of Belizean security forces by Israeli personnel, in light of the nation’s decision to open fire on unarmed civilians. At that time, Deputy Commissioner of Police with Responsibility for Operations, Chester Williams, who has been widely accredited for his community oriented approach to policing, defended the decision to get training from the Israelis.

Williams noted that, while the move may attract some negative criticism, Israel is world renowned for its community policing efforts, which meant Belizean law enforcement officers would be getting the best training they could get.

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