Israel pushes for more Pacific engagement

Samoa and the Pacific should do more to benefit from the Israeli government’s  US$480 million (T$1.2 billion) international aid for food security, water and other basic utilities.

This is according to Israel’s General Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yuval Rotem during an interview with the Samoa Observer.

“It’s not just Samoa, but the Pacific Islands. I think Samoa has a great potential. I think the Pacific Islands need to seize the moment,” he said. 

“The world has a vested interest in the Pacific, and it’s all about Samoa getting a little more active about knocking on the doors of others because if you’re going to wait for assistance to knock on your door, that day will never come.”

“I think you need to seize the moment of opportunity and enjoy the growing interest of two worlds in the Pacific and getting more active and staying more engaged in the world stage.”

“Unlike before, the Pacific Islands are a little bit more on the world’s radar, and I think that it is something that should be taken as an advantage.” 

“And there should be more about in the end, you are a block of 14 countries and it’s not something that can be overlooked so easily.”

“I think that youe involvement with the world is vital,” said Mr. Rotem.

Furthermore, he noted the Pacific Islands need to form a coalition and come with one voice to world level. 

“And do that with some activism, you will take this interest that you see from different places in the world, and you’ll find yourself more under the radar.” 

Deputy Director General of the Israel Cooperation Center, Gil Haskel, explained in order for assistance to be rendered, the approach has to be made as in anything. 

“We are a Government agency and initially we work on a Government to Government level.”

“We will never impose development corporation on any Government and we will never condition on any political issue because we believe that assistance needs to go down to the grassroots level.”

“We definitely address requests that come out of the Community level and regional level.” 

“It has to be in someway coordinated with the local Government,” said Mr. Haskel.

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