Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne is calling for more diplomacy and less violence as the conflict in the Palestinian territory of Gaza continues to destroy homes and lives.
Speaking at Spain’s National Day ceremony at the ambassador’s residence at Ellerslie Park, Maraval, on Thursday, he called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas – an Islamist militant movement and one of the Palestinian territories’ two major political parties.
“We are now confronted with a sudden conflagration in the Middle East, which has the potential to escalate across and beyond that region.
"TT joins with Caricom and other responsible members of the international community in calling for an immediate ceasefire, an end of hostilities by all parties, and the exercise of restraint and regard for civilian lives and welfare,” Browne said.
He said Trinidad and Tobago always valued strong partnerships and its response to major challenges was to “escalate our emphasis on multilateralism and to rely ever more closely on our friends and partners” to find pragmatic and diplomatic solutions.
The Caricom statement, published on October 9, said it “abhors” the savage nature of the attacks and counter-attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territory of Gaza which led to the loss of innocent lives.
“Caricom thus joins the responsible members of the international community in calling for an immediate ceasefire and end of hostilities by all parties."
This statement was roundly criticised by Israel's ambassador to TT, Itai Bardov, who, during an interview last week with WESN Content Capital's host Ketan Singh, said Caricom was wrong to equate Israel's attack on the Gaza Strip – in its self-defence – with the Hamas militants' deadly attack on Israeli soil.
Pandit Lloyd Mukram Sirjoo, president of the Inter-Religious Organisation, said children in Gaza did not have food or shelter, and infrastructure and lives were being destroyed because of “some little nonsensical thing.”
He said world leaders should be finding ways to negotiate a truce and stop the destruction instead of being selfish.
In a letter to the editors of neewspapers, professor emeritus Ramesh Deosaran said the US should lead the way by pressuring Israel to accept the UN resolution for a two-state (Palestine-Israel) settlement instead of giving Israel more war machinery.
“Almost 5,000 deaths so far with some 50,000 reported wounded and one million rushed to evacuate in 24 hours.
“With territorial, religious and political grievances so passionately embedded in Palestinians’ minds, when Israel wins without a two-state resolution, the 'war' will continue in more ways than one – in very dangerous ways against Israel, suicidal terrorism for example.”
Deosaran said he grieved for the thousands of deaths and woundings in both the Hamas-Israel and Russia-Ukraine wars, especially as they could both have peaceful resolutions.