The Jerusalem dilemma of Georgian Dream
“Georgia will fix its position based on its national interests, taking into account the international situation and existing threats in the region, of course.”
This is the only statement the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili has made so far after Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The American president’s decision has caused controversy in the ranks of Georgia’s ruling party. Experts are also debating what position Georgia should take.
Shota Shalelashvili, a deputy of the ruling Georgian Dream political party addressed the Georgian Prime Minister with an open letter on his Facebook page where he proposed recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as well. The Prime Minister criticized the deputy’s letter, himself being Jewish by nationality, calling it unacceptable. After a while, Shalelashvili received a call from the State Security Service (SSSG).
He spent several hours at the State Security Service, and upon leaving told reporters that he was there on a personal matter, not because of his letter to the Prime Minister.
The parliamentary majority was clearly lost when faced with the Prime Minister’s negative reaction. Deputies who had ‘liked’ Shalelashvili’s Facebook post quickly ‘unliked’ it again.
Deputies seem confused in commentaries for TV channels. The fact is Trump’s actions have plunged Georgian authorities into deep thought.
“This is not one of those issues that needs to be solved in a hurry,” said Mamuka Mdinaradze, chairman of the ‘Georgian Dream’ faction in parliament.
Later in the evening the Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement:
“Georgia supports the international community’s efforts aimed at a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based on agreements reached in dialogue. We will monitor the situation’s development with this in mind and continue consulting our partners.”
Georgian authorities are in no hurry to give advice on the situation. Irakli Menagarishvili, former Foreign Minister of Georgia said that: “The United States is one of Georgia’s strategic partners, but despite this we mustn’t forget that other partners like the EU and Turkey have a different attitude towards this issue.”
“I’m half Jewish,” said political scientist Gia Kukhashvili, “Emotions dictate that the status of the capital of Jerusalem should be recognized, but on the basis of state interests, I would not rush to support the decision of the US.”
“Trump’s decision increases risks in the Middle East. Georgia should not be the second country to support his decision. We are already a target in a complicated region without that,” Khukhashvili told Echo of the Caucasus.