Monday, July 14, 2014

The Unholy Alliance between Belize and Israel: A Commentary for Freedom

The unholy alliance between the Belizean governments both past and present with the occupiers of Palestinian land, the so-called State of Israel, is one of the biggest failures in Belize's foreign policy. It will surely go down as the disgraceful use of elitist power which defies our socio-historical experience, morality, and diplomacy strategies.

Most Belizeans both at home and abroad are likely not aware that before the land of the Palestinians was considered by the imperialist’s powers of Britain and the United States as a 'Homeland' for the so-called Jews of Europe, Belize was also on the top of their list. 

Indeed, this was acknowledged by an Israeli Ambassador in a recent visit to Belize:

“In the beginning of the century there were a few ideas about where to build the new Jewish state. We were talking about Uganda in Africa, we were talking about Belize and other places” - Mattanya Cohen, Israel Ambassador (2009)

It was known that the region of Central America was far too hot for these Europeans.  It was the mild Mediterranean climate of Palestine which became the selected location of the unjust invasion and establishment of an Israeli state. The people of Palestine were driven from their land, pushed behind the barb wires in concentration camps which are now the bombarded Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Guat-Israeli Alliance
Belizeans must realize that the Israeli apartheid regime, which holds our brothers and sisters hostage in their own lands, has been the greatest supporter of the genocidal military oligarchy in Guatemala. And Guatemala, as we are well aware, is a sworn enemy to the Belizean people with an unfounded territorial claim over Belize.

When Belize campaigned for the international support from the United Nations (UN) to achieve self-independence, Israel was not Belize’s ally. In fact, Israel was one of the main suppliers of arms and ammunitions to Guatemala. This created a mood of war during the 1970s (see Shoman 2010, pp. 107, 137, 146).

Israel consistently abstained from voting in the resolutions that were introduced to secure Belize’s independence (see Shoman, 2010). This was done in order for Israel to remain an ally of Guatemala. The power elites of Israel would have benefited if Belize and Guatemala had entered a war because they were going to be the main suppliers of arms and ammunitions. 

In the past, the George Price PUP government did recognize the legality of the state of Israel (perhaps they were compelled to do so). But when the Esquivel UDP administration came to power in 1984, Belize's became a pronounced supporter of Israel. The Esquivel UDP administration declared its Pro-United States Pro-Liberalism policy to the international community. And concern Belizeans, like members from BREDDA and the UBAD Foundation, knew that the Belizean people were heading towards greater international dependency.

Then during the Musa PUP administration in 1998, there was a slight turn away from diplomatic support of Israel. But since gaining power in 2004, the Barrow UDP administration's with its diehard Pro-West Foreign Minister, Wilfred ‘Sedi’ Elrington, has gone to great lengths to accommodate Israel within Belize's body politic. As noted by 7 News:

Israel and Belize have long had an uneasy relationship... But today [November, 16, 2009] in a surprise diplomatic move – Foreign Minister Wilfred Elrington boldly cemented relations with Israel allowing a visa waiver and a technical assistance programme. We suspect that it is the kind of thing that could not have happened during the last government when Said Musa who is of Palestinian descent was the Prime Minister. But things change and Elrington today said the new pact will help Belize with knowledge.

Belize now has official diplomatic relations with one of the most loyal military ally of Guatemala. This is despite the fact that Israel refused to vote in our favor during the independence campaign. We are now showing affection to the state which provided arms and ammunitions that could have led to our dissolution as nation. As Evan X Hyde said the “This makes no sense. The friend of my enemy cannot possibly be my friend” (The Publisher, 2014).

As the bombs fall on innocent Palestinians, it becomes obvious that our previous and current governments have wedded an unholy alliance with the occupiers of Palestine. By failing to break our current diplomatic relations with Israel, we are signaling our acceptance to the actions of Israel in our struggle for independence and in the genocide that is unfolding before the eyes of the world.

We must not remain silent while Israel unleashes hell on unarmed civilians. Due to our historical experience we should be the most sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. We could have been the ones to experience the present state of terrorism of the Palestinian people. This is a call for civil society organizations, civil servants, educators, and academics to insist that Belize breaks its diplomatic relations with Israel.

By Bilal Morris* and Rolando Cocom

*Bilal Morris is a Belizean Journalist residing in Los Angeles. He has authored many articles on Islam in the Caribbean and Central America and on Belize.

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  1. "We must not remain silent while Israel unleashes hell on unarmed civilians."⇦Wondering how many people will take this seriously...shall it be like with other cases/issues whereby we wait until something really bad happens (God forbid) for us to do something, to become aware? Sure hope not :-\

    1. Yeah. The bombing of Gaza has been so recurrent that it makes highly unlikely that it will be as major call in Belize. But there are activists on global levels. Besides, even the local problems which we face aren't being fully address. But in the Belize case, it's not that I think there is such an urgent military issue (potential war) for Belize at this point, but that it's more wise, necessary, and logical that we break our ties with the modern state of Israel. The 'open entry' and other technical programs is the beginning of an Israel alliance - they do this to build support and dependency with other nations from the UN. But they didn't support us.

  2. I suspect that Belizeans can be persuaded to be against supporting Israel if four things become widely popular: 1. Israel is known as a modern nation-state built on hegemonic interests (we need to provide both historical and religious evidence) 2. Israel did not support Belize’s independence (Why should we support them? They have always been Guatemala’s ally, and have supplied Guat. with arms and ammunitions during our struggle for independence) and 3. Belize was considered a place to build modern Israel and 4. Israel continues to push Palestinians out of the region of their livelihood (would we want Guatemala to push us out of Belize just because it they claim to have ‘inherited’ it?)

    1. Rolando, is this the reason numerous Middle Eastern families migrated to Belize during the early 20th century?

    2. That it is a good point, the Caribbean and much of Latin America saw various groups of Lebanese and Jews arrive to their territories to escape World War 1 and 2 and also seeking places to invest

  3. Former Belizean Prime Minister, Said Musa, and activists protest the ongoing conflict in Gaza.