Photo Courtesy: United Nations
Posted: Friday, December 22, 2017. 9:28 a.m. CST.
By Lisa Shoman: “After the Second World War, the State of Israel was established and gradually recognized ‘de jure’ — or lawfully — by most of the world’s countries. However, although the United Nations (UN) recognized the state of Israel in 1948, allowing it to become a member state, it placed the whole city of Jerusalem under international control (a ‘corpus separatum’) on Dec. 13 1949. Despite this, most governmental offices moved to the city.
But in 1967, during the Six-Day War, Israel captured the eastern section of Jerusalem, which Jordan presided over, and declared Israeli law, jurisdiction and administration would be applied to the whole city. Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem has been considered illegal under international law and was condemned by the UN, as well as other states.”
Belize’s very existence as a nation-state depends very much on adherence to international law, and the international legal principle of self-determination.
We also put our reliance on the UNGA Resolution 36/3 which was adopted on September 25, 1981 to admit Belize to membership in the United Nations, after years of Resolutions supporting our independence and after gathering steadily increasing support from member states for nearly two decades of unceasing lobby efforts.
When we started our effort to gain UN support, Palestine was there with us, fighting the same fight – that of self-determination. We attained our independence and Palestinians are still yearning for justice. They supported us every step of the way and still support our struggle for territorial integrity.
As a nation, we have no might, no wealth other than natural beauty, and a limited geopolitical significance. What we do have – and must have – is our adherence to the principles of international law.
We depend on those principles for our continued existence in the face of a neighbor larger and more powerful who continues to claim all, or at any rate more than half our national territory.
We have always voted in support of Palestine and the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination because we identify with the tremendous challenges and injustice they face. We do so because it is the right thing to do.
In a scenario where every patriotic Belizean vigorously objects to and protests Guatemalan pretensions over their claim to the entire Sarstoon River, our commonly shared border, how can we NOT support the just claim of Palestine in the face of the continued unlawful occupation of East Jerusalem by Israel?
You cannot simultaneously claim to the world that you want International Law upheld for your nation – and ignore its application to another state at the same time.
This is a matter of principle for us, and no amount of fear, coercion or even convenient short term interest should tempt us to change that.
Did we do the right thing? Ask yourself this as a Jewelizean – where would WE be if the world just ignored or conveniently abandoned their principled support for our rights to OUR Jewel?
We did the right thing at the UN yesterday.
The views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not necessarily those of Breaking Belize News.
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