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Why we lost Pacific Islands
Published Thursday 06/12/2012 (updated) 14/12/2012 15:12
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The final tally of Thursday's
vote was 138 in favor, nine
against with 41 abstaining.
(Reuters/Chip East)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- As Israel reflects on losing Europe in Thursday's vote to upgrade Palestine's UN status, mystery shrouds the positions of four Pacific island nations that broke with international consensus and sided with Tel Aviv.

Five of the holdouts -- Canada, the Czech Republic, Israel, Panama and the United States -- explained their positions in speeches and statements in the lead-up to the vote, a few of them repeatedly.

But representatives of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, and Palau all refused this week to discuss the vote, dodging calls from Ma'an and even their own aides.

The four US-allied Pacific island nations issued no statements and made no speeches, maintaining a curious silence in contrast with votes that suggested they felt strongly about the issue.

A woman who answered the phone on Wednesday but would not say if her name was Amatlain Kabua, ambassador of the Marshall Islands to the United Nations, declined to discuss the vote.

"Is that important to you?" she said of the Palestine resolution. "We prefer to talk in person, not over the phone," she added, before asking if the Ma'an reporter was Israeli or Palestinian.

She added that representatives of the Marshall Islands were engaged indefinitely.

The Marshall Islands has established a firmly pro-Israel track record at the UN since gaining independence in 1979, although its votes tend to follow Israel's ally the United States on most issues.

During a 2005 visit to Israel, then President Kessai Note declared that "We stand proud as one of the very few, most willing and consistent supporters of your country, even on the most controversial of issues."

Today the Marshall Islands is sovereign, but it and Micronesia renewed a "Compact of Free Association" with the US for 20 years in 2003.

The loosely defined "free association" status applies to a former territory that is recognized internationally as independent but chooses to associate itself with another country.

The Marshall Islands was administered along with Micronesia and Palau for decades by the US Navy under the designation "Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands."

Like the Marshall Islands, Micronesia routinely votes with the United States, which has committed billions of dollars in aid to the island nation and its neighbors. A study of both countries' voting records in 2006 estimated that they matched 90.8 percent of the time.

Micronesia's support for the United States is also reflected in the share of recruits it provides for the US military. According to one estimate, 1,000-1,500 of its 107,000 citizens are enlisted and have suffered as much as five times as many casualties as US-born soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The country's ambassador to the UN, Jane Jimmy Chigiyal, did not make a statement before or after the Palestine vote, and she did not respond to inquiries by phone and email. Aides in Micronesia's office in New York said even they were having trouble locating her Wednesday.

Palau also touts its loyalty to the United States and the US military, and it says this close relationship is partly responsible for the island's pro-Israel voting record at the UN.

"Palau a solid ally of the US, which supports Israel," Palau's representative to the UN, Stuart Beck, explained in a 2005 interview.

He said Palau was "grateful to the US for giving them independence, without any violence. The support they give to the US is mutual, since they agreed to a defense relationship, which means the US can establish bases there, if necessary.”

Staff at Beck's office struggled to explain Wednesday why the ambassador could not be reached -- he is from Long Island -- but they said he would get in touch eventually.

Asked when, an aide responded that she "would suggest not to wait."

Nauru's office was more up front about Ambassador Marlene Moses' unavailability.

A staffer told Ma'an that Moses would not be able to return calls "until three weeks from now," and added that she did not know Nauru's reasons for voting against Palestine.
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1 ) shirley / australia
06/12/2012 23:13
because US controlled and YOU lost more than these Isalands another 41 abstainded that means they voted NO start excepting reality and start working to build asanctions campaign with real allies not the fake ones who abstained ABBASS said they would review their relations with all who abstained and voted no instaed all you pals do is run off to those people asking for help it isnt coming they voted with USyou have over a2/3 rds majority in UNGA and better to start joining all UN BODIES

2 ) Bemused / New Zealand
07/12/2012 02:03
The Marshall Islands were where the US tested its nuclear weapons - between 1946 and 1958, the U.S. detonated 67 nuclear devices in and around the Marshall Islands. Bravo was the most famous - watch a video about it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tvj7MscvSrg Those islands the US didn't contaminate, the French did.....

3 ) Mel / USA
07/12/2012 02:20
It basically comes down to BLACKMAIL! USG has all these service-industry-old US-base,weapons-testing islands,BY AN ECONOMIC BALLS.They survive on US tax-payer monies.The islands are SINKING too,due to oceans rising/climate change,something their Pentascostal majority(speaking-in-tongues)populus won't be able to change if US,China etc keep destroying the ozone layer!These Islands are indentured serfs to USG foreign policy!But,USG-or Israel-won't help them back,it comes to'man-the-lifeboat' time!

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
07/12/2012 07:47
To Mel #3: 'These Islands are indentured serfs to USG foreign policy!' Nonsense. An indenture has a time limit.

5 ) Khaled Shanaa / Palestine
07/12/2012 11:13
Useful informations and good efforts..,, thank you

6 ) Jihane / Palestine/France
07/12/2012 14:16
Someone told me - and another person who's actually been to Nauru confirmed - that Nauru (9267 inhabitants) is totally bankrupt since the phosphate mining has ended, and is basically surviving on selling its votes in the UN and to the International Whaling Commission. So basically we can say that apart from the US, Israel has no friends. Even South Sudan voted YES for Palestine.

7 ) Mel / USA
07/12/2012 16:12
#4:Colin:'Time limit'?Exactly,& under the COFA(Compact Of Free Association)(20yr)contracts those islands signed with USG/Treasury/Reserve/Pentagon,those contracts(Compact II)are bound until approx 2024! $4 BILLION(GDP)of RMI &FSM(Micronesia)etc,comes from USG/Pentagon/military "defense"(missile testing) tax-payer "Aid".M/I provides "aid" to all the other islands! They're STUCK,as US'service'serfs & US military-recruits(already dead in Iraq/AfPak etc),for 10 more years!That's controls UN VOTES!

8 ) abdelwahabi ben aziz / khazakhistan
07/12/2012 16:34
blame america.....

9 ) norma lisa / ramallah
07/12/2012 19:06
america was referee through oslo accords and until today.... countrys such as usa ,west and regional lackeys -mor so egpyt,qatar,jordan,turkey,even phalangists/harirites /sauds can all be trusted?? why were they in gaza recently.. ?? -when a unity govt exist.. all link with america and the west should be broken .. look elsewhere,e.g to b.r.i.c.s./s.c.o. ..rather than the i.m.f-ites..

10 ) Colin Wright / USA
07/12/2012 23:15
Jihane #6 '...Nauru (9267 inhabitants) is totally bankrupt...' This leads to the reflection that creating extremely small states merely encourages corruption. It's impractically expensive to bribe sixteen million or whatever -- it's perfectly feasible to bribe nine thousand.

11 ) Sam / Holland
08/12/2012 01:43
Microwho?

12 ) Barak / Obama
08/12/2012 05:23
wipes his ass with these Islands

13 ) David T. / Germany
09/12/2012 00:09
"In recognition of the authority and responsibility of the Government of the United States under Title Three, the Governments of the Marshall Islands and the Federated States of Micronesia shall consult, in the conduct of their foreign affairs, with the Government of the United States." "In recognition of the authority and responsibility of the Government of the United States under Title Three, the Government of Palau shall consult with the Government of the United States. " http://uscode.hou

14 ) Colin Wright / USA
09/12/2012 22:02
What it all boils down to is that the vote was 138 for, four and a half against. The US, Canada, Israel, and the Czech Republic can all reasonably be described as free agents. Panama is a tad suspect. The others are simply additional votes for the US to cast. Well, one could argue that the US votes as Israel says. Maybe make that 138 for, three and a half against.
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