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Jamaica Follows Barbados In Recognizing Palestine As A State

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks with Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith prior to an emergency meeting on Haiti at the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Kingston, Jamaica, March 11, 2024. (photo credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL VIA REUTERS) via SG

Jamaica’s foreign Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, says Jamaica “continues to advocate for a two-state solution as the only viable option to resolve the longstanding conflict.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that, Jamaica has followed its Caribbean neighbor Barbados in unilaterally recognizing the state of Palestine over the last week, giving the Palestinian Authority two diplomatic victories as it pushes for Western countries to take such a step.

“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,” Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said on Tuesday in a statement her office issued.

It followed a decision by the country’s cabinet one day earlier.

“The decision is aligned with Jamaica’s strong commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, which seeks to engender mutual respect and peaceful co-existence among states as well as the recognition of the rights of people of self-determination,” she said.

Last week, the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution which would have granted the Palestinians full UN membership, rather than its de facto acceptance as a non-member state.

The Palestinians have held that status since 2012.

Read Also: Sweden, Canada resume Funding For UN Agency For Palestinian Refugees

UNSC support is a necessary step toward UN statehood recognition. To date, at least 140 UN member countries, including Jamaica and Barbados, have recognized Palestinian statehood.

Western countries, including the United States and the European Union, have held that such recognition should only come once a final status agreement for a two-state resolution to the conflict is in place.

A number of European countries have revisited that position, given that the peace process with Israel has been frozen for the last 10 years and in light of the Israel-Hamas war.

Israel has argued that such a move in the aftermath of the October 7 Hamas-led invasion of southern Israel would reward terror, while some countries hold that it’s a necessary move to revive a diplomatic resolution.

Slovenia, Spain, Ireland, and Belgium have all weighed such a possibility.

On Friday, Barbados Foreign Minister Kerrie Symmonds said that the country’s cabinet has “made the determination that the time is ripe for us to have a formal diplomatic recognition of the State of Palestine.”

Israel has diplomatic ties with the two countries.

Both Jamaica and Barbados have a diplomatic relationship with Israel that dates back to the 1960s.

Symmonds said his country’s ties with Israel were “exceptionally good ones. We have benefited tremendously through technical cooperation with the State of Israel in a number of fields, not the least of which is our efforts at food security and agriculture, and also assisting us with the increasing drought challenges and water-related challenges that we have had.”

“But ironically, despite having said to the world that we would like to see a two-state solution, Barbados itself has never recognized the State of Palestine. Therefore, there is an incongruity and inconsistency because ‘how can we say we want a two-state solution if we do not recognize Palestine as a State?” Symmonds added.

The Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Ministry welcomed the decision of both Jamaica and Barbados. – TJP

Source: TJP

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