UWI political scientist: Set up Caricom committee on Gaza conflict

Dr Indira Rampersad -
Dr Indira Rampersad -

HEAD of UWI, St Augustine's department of political science Dr Indira Rampersad has suggested that Caricom create a committee to "work on possible solutions" to the Israel/Palestine conflict as war between the two territories continues.

After this, she said, the ideas can be pitched to the UN General Assembly.

She was speaking at the UWI Vice-Chancellor’s virtual forum, The Grab for Gaza: The Israel-Palestine Conflict – Causes, Concerns and Consequences, on Wednesday morning.

Rampersad served as the host and moderator of the forum, but gave the suggestion in a brief contribution.

UWI vice-chancellor Prof Sir Hilary Beckles said the university sees it as its duty to participate in "all of the major global events that are having an adverse impact upon the development ideals of the world."

The forum, he said, was "evidence to that commitment.

"The world is deeply divided as it is deeply troubled by what we see and hear every day as this war ravages..."

He continued, "As a university rooted in Caribbean civilisation, we understand all too well the issues that have emerged as relevant in defining this crisis (like) issues of colonisation and ethnic genocide, racism and apartheid, ethnic domination, the quest for freedom, the idea that crimes against humanity are before us, (and) issues of sovereignty and national security..."

Curtis Ward, deputy permanent representative for Jamaica to the UN, said Caribbean countries must "speak with a unified voice" on this conflict.

He too believes a two-state solution would work best.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US Alon Pinkas said while many think of wars as following the order of having a beginning and end, owing to shared history, "This is not a conventional war.

"For Israel, what constitutes a win is complete eradication and obliteration of Hamas' military power and incapacitation of their political power...For Hamas, a win is just to stay on their feet, either in Gaza or on the West Bank."

Calling Israel's government "semi-lunatic," he said there must be a change in that regard, as well as in the Palestine Authority, whose "weak, incompetent government" must be revamped.

However, he added that it is not easy to do.

Professor of international relations at the University of Alberta Andy Knight believed Israel must understand that Hamas is "guided by an ideology or idea, and no sheer military force can destroy that...

"We may sort of reduce their impact, but the chances of eliminating the ideology of radical Islam is very, very difficult, if not impossible.

The rising tensions owing to the conflict, he said, are "very troubling," and he hopes there will be a ceasefire.

Dr Dahlia Scheindlin, an international political and strategic consultant, agreed there should be a different Israeli government, saying, "This current government is firmly against Palestinian self-determination, statehood, sovereignty, independence..."

She said there could be either a political or military resolution to the conflict.

"We have to get rid of this idea from our minds that there is some sort of perfect peace resolution that ends all violence."


"UWI political scientist: Set up Caricom committee on Gaza conflict"

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