Israeli Ambassador’s Stern Lecture To Ghanaians; a Diplomatic Faux Pas

It is not always that members of the diplomatic corps in Ghana behave badly, they hardly do; for most part, they respect our national sovereignty by obeying our laws and staying clear of issues or doing things that could possibly generate controversy.

There are laws governing diplomatic behavior; in fact, there are lines that just aren't crossed in diplomacy for the sake of harmony and peaceful co-existence among nation states.

But there are times when some members of the diplomatic corps stray off the plantation and stir up trouble, creating unease and diplomatic headscratching in the process.

Last week, the Israeli Ambassador to Ghana crossed the diplomatic red line with his petulant and cantankerous press release. He threw caution and etiquette to the wind when he sternly lectured Ghana about its vote for a resolution at the United Nations condemning President Trump's much criticized recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Apparently, Ghana's vote greatly upset the Israelis who could barely contain their anger which they expressed in a belittling and insulting press release. They derided our vote, describing it as mistaken.

And to crown off their total and gross disrespect for our sovereignty, the Israelis warned us not to vote in this fashion anymore in subsequent UN motions. What gall; a sovereign nation instructing another sovereign nation how to conduct itself in international affairs.

It is hard to understand why the Israeli ambassador elected to go down this path knowing full well that Ghanaians reaction to his absurd news release will be visceral.

Perhaps, the press release was calculated to send a message: Ghana depends on Israel for development aid, if it continues to vote against Israeli interests in the future,  the aid could well be cut off.

Clearly, Israel was emboldened by the United States who had threatened to punish countries who voted in support of the resolution by withholding financial assistance.

In his rush to judgement, the Israeli ambassador deliberately chose to gloss over some very basic facts; Ghana is a sovereign nation state and as such, has the right enshrined in the United Nations Charter, to decide what is in her best national interests.

Our vote therefore was in solidarity with the people of Palestine who have, and continue to suffer indignities at the hands of Israel for nearly eighty years.

Any Israeli misgivings about Ghana's vote could have been resolved behind close doors. And, the anger could have been expressed more subtly without the attendant furore. That the Israelis chose to lecture us in public highlights the tenuous position Ghana and other developing countries find themselves in; how to exercise their sovereign rights without alienating/offending wealthy donor countries. It is a delicate balance.

Calls by the minority and others for the Israeli Ambassador to be summoned in for a dressing down at the ministry of foreign affairs are misplaced and premature at this point. It is noteworthy that the NPP government has not come out to publicly denounce the action of the ambassador. The reason is simple. The government is very much aware of the delicate nature of diplomacy. It doesn't therefore want to be caught with its pants down with the wrong diplomatic move.

But I can assure you that before long, everything will be sorted out diplomatically, to the satisfaction of all. Ghanaians and Israelis alike.



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