Now Jamaica Recognizes Palestine As A State, But What Will This Mean In Practice?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons. An Israeli soldier grabs a Palestinian flag from a supporter of Palestine.
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The Government of Jamaica had decided to join many other nations, including, recently, Barbados and has taken the decision to recognise the State of Palestine.

The decision was confirmed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, following deliberations of the Cabinet on Monday, April 22.

“Jamaica continues to advocate for a two-state solution as the only viable option to resolve the longstanding conflict, guarantee the security of Israel and uphold the dignity and rights of Palestinians. By recognising the State of Palestine, Jamaica strengthens its advocacy towards a peaceful solution,” Johnson Smith said in a media statement issued on the Jamaica Government Information Service site in tiny type.

But what does this mean in practical terms? Will Jamaica be receiving refugees from Palestine, or participating in joint ventures with Hamas? Or is this purely a symbolic gesture that will add to the number of states recognizing Palestine? At this point no one is quite sure.

Johnson Smith added, “The decision is aligned with Jamaica’s strong commitment to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which seek to engender mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among states, as well as the recognition of the right of peoples to self-determination.”

The minister also repeated that Jamaica’s is very concerned about the war in Gaza and the ever-deepening humanitarian crisis, and that the Jamaican government wants a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through diplomatic dialogue rather than military actions.

This appears to indicate that although the King of England remains head of state in Jamaica, the government is prepared to split with Great Britain on at least some foreign policy matters.

The United Kingdom does not currently recognize Palestine as a state, however there are indications that this position could change if the Labour Party wins the next UK general election and the Conservative Party is booted from office.

On the other hand, this small step in foreign policy might be regarded as dipping a toe to test the waters before suing for divorce from the crown.

Johnson Smith reaffirmed Jamaica’s support for an immediate ceasefire, the release of hostages and increased access to humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, especially the many women and children who are suffering daily, a position that is supported by the United Kingdom.

“Jamaica continues to support all efforts for de-escalation and the establishment of lasting peace in the region, imploring all parties to consider the dire consequences of further conflict and commit to diplomatic solutions ensuring the safety and sovereignty of all,” she said.

Jamaica now joins 140 Member States of the United Nations (UN) who have recognised the State of Palestine.

Source: Jamaica Government Information Service.
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