Isolate Israel | Local Sports

One day after the Government announced its recognition of Palestine as a state, two organizations are saying this country should put more pressure on Israel.

Imtiaz Mohammed, public relations officer of the Concerned Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago, and Movement for Social Justice (MSJ) leader David Abdulah argued yesterday that the Government’s approach to the war between Israel and Hamas was weak.

They were speaking at the Islamic Missionaries Guild Center in Kelly Village.

They said recognizing Palestine was not sufficient to isolate Israel. They acknowledged that the Government had made statements at the Caricom level about the humanitarian crisis facing Palestinians and formally recognized the State of Palestine in a statement Wednesday evening.

Mohammed was critical of what he called the Government’s delayed response to the crisis which he said came only after the United Nations delegation visited the country last week.

“We want our Government to be a strong Government. Not a Government who will make decisions based, like in this case, seeing some other countries doing it and just because they do it and we belong to Caricom we come and do it now,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed was referring to last month’s announcement by Barbados and Jamaica stating their support to the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

One of the proposals that Mohammed suggested the Government should adopt to condemn the actions of Israel was the severing or suspension of diplomatic ties with Israel.

Mohammed said Israel needed to be isolated the same way that South Africa was when the world stood up to the apartheid regime.

That proposal, as well as the recognition of the State of Palestine, was supported by Abdulah when he reiterated that it was two of many sent to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley in November last year.

He said the possible actions signed by three other groups besides the MSJ and Concerned Muslims of Trinidad and Tobago were proposed to demonstrate their abhorrence to the genocide and humanitarian crisis facing the Palestinian people.

Asked if the prime minister had acknowledged receipt of the letter, Abdulah said no.

One of the recommendations made in November and restated yesterday was to halt all trade-both exports and imports-between Trinidad and Tobago and Israel.

“And we know the largest elements of trade with Israel, of course, is security apparatus…” Abdulah said.

Other proposals included the boycotting of any sporting, cultural or other activities in which Israel was a participant, he said.

“One for example, which we called for in our letter…the Paris Olympics are coming up and it will be a travesty to see Israeli athletes participate in the Olympics of 2024. We must remember that there was a major boycott of South African sporting and cultural events. In fact, those who might remember a number of us picketed outside the Oval when English cricketers came to Trinidad and violated in our view an agreement to boycott South Africa,” Abdulah said.