Opinion

Important Implications Of PM’s State Visit To Israel

People who have criticised the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, on his state visit to Israel do not really understand the implications of that trip. They also do not understand the
08 Nov 2016 11:00
Important Implications Of PM’s State Visit To Israel

People who have criticised the Prime Minister, Voreqe Bainimarama, on his state visit to Israel do not really understand the implications of that trip.

They also do not understand the intricacies of international diplomacy.  The relations between  Fiji and Israel go back a long way. As a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), Fiji declares it is enemy to none and friend to all. While Israel is not a NAM member, it does not stop Fiji from building relations with it. In fact Israel has been one of our many friends. The two countries share common democratic values, religious affinities, security, trade and technical interests.

Israel is an important player in attaining peace in the Middle East. From Fiji’s perspective, Israel plays a crucial role, because of our peacekeepers who are stationed in the region. We have Fijian peacekeepers in southern Lebanon, Golan Heights in Syria and the Sinai, Egypt, because the Israelis trust the professionalism of the Fijians to perform their tasks with integrity. The Fijians have proved themselves with their exemplary performance.

At the moment, Fijian troops are on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights. They are stationed there after they pulled out from the Syrian side  when the Syrian Government forces withdrew from the area patrolled by the Fijians under the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force. Rebels, who had taken control, captured 45 Fijian soldiers and later released them during the height of the trouble.

The Syrian Government forces are now back in the area and it has now been confirmed that the Fijian troops will return to  the original camp.

This has happened with the obvious support of Israel which is wary of the threat of the rebel forces, especially the dreaded ISIS.

This is why the PM is meeting his Israeli counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu. Because he is close to the area of operations in the Golan Heights and southern Lebanon, he will visit the troops. This will be a bonus for the troops after the visit there of President, Jioji Konrote.

Mr Bainimarama will then head to Marrakesh, Morocco, to attend COP22, the UN climate body’s (UNFCCC) 22nd Conference of the Parties.

So this one trip packs in three major events, all important for Fiji in many respects. It will be hectic but the PM is up for it and, given his track record, he will achieve the objectives of this trip.



FS JAB DRIVE


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