Observations by Johnny Koanapo Nies Rasou, Member of Parliament for Tanna Island

The Republic of Vanuatu had to celebrate its 40th year of Independence because of one very vital reason. It is a reflection of our country’s belief that our destiny is likened unto the journey of the nation of Israel who after leaving Egypt spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness before reaching the promised land of Canaan. Can you think of any other country in the whole planet that is celebrating its national day on the same principle? I doubt it. Every country or organization will usually organize events to commemorate the silver or golden jubilee. The usage of the term Jubilee (of biblical origin) is often associated with celebrations epitomizing the value of precious medals such as 25 years (Silver), 40 years (Rubi), 50 years (golden), 60 (diamond) up to 70 years (Platinum). But these commonly used connotations never featured in the country’s reasoning for the celebrations of 40 years.

The celebration of our 40 years journey goes to show one thing. It shows our deep conviction and connection to the people of Israel as the Chosen nation of God. We may not be like the United States of America with strategic and cultural interests that is so historically and culturally intertwined with the nation of Israel. We did it because we believe God called us out from being bound by the condominium powers to becoming a free nation. It is something that the Churches and even non-believers in this country have strongly advocated compelling the nation to take this stand and we are so passionate and real about it.

We have a very strong relations with the State of Israel and I hope the State of Israel will see this as a unique element in our relations. We are a Sovereign nation that believes in being friends to all and enemies to none. We are a friend of Israel and a friend to other nations making up the Association of Islamic States in the Middle East region. This is special. Israel must belief in us. Israel must see this as a gesture that is not only done as a lure to sugar code our relations but we had to do it because it is so embedded in our nation’s DNA and that failure to do so will mean we would have failed to recognize a reference point of our nation’s history but also, we will fail to grasp the realms of our future opportunities.

We did it with China when one prominent political party the Vanua’aku Party became the first Party in the South Pacific to recognize and establish relations with China through the Communist Party of China (CPC). And China recognizes this as a reference point in our relations. Today many other political parties and countries in the region have strong relations with China, but Vanuatu holds a special place in its relations with China because it did what it did and believed what it was doing is right. It didn’t matter to us whether it was a communist party/nation. Today China remains a close and a true friend and honors this relation deeply. For the State of Israel, it did not matter to us whether the State of Israel was ruled by Judges, Kings or now a Government in Jerusalem, what matters is we believe what we are doing is right. We believe Jerusalem is the Capital city of Israel. There is no point believing in our spiritual connection with Israel and not believing that this is the spiritual capital.

What is even more extraordinary in the relations between these two states is this. Just when our country was being declared as an independent nation on 30th day of July 1980, the Jerusalem Law was being passed by the Knesset (Israeli Parliament) declaring Jerusalem to be the Capital of the nation of Israel. So 30th July 1980 was important to both countries in that it is a date which signifies the sovereign existence for Vanuatu as a nation and Jerusalem as the inalienable Capital of Israel, although the UN Security Council later declared it null and void in its resolution 478 in August 20th 1980.

So there is a common history and certainly one that is called and marked by God Yahweh. I have no doubt that there is a junction somewhere in the not too distant future where both countries will share something together. What happens after the arrival of the nation of Israel in Canaan after 40 years and what sort of policies they had at that time going forward? But one thing I have no doubt about in my mind was that, for Israel the establishment of their nation and building of their national institutions started after 40 years in the Wilderness. So for Vanuatu as a nation, could it be that the life of our nation has just started after yumi Vanuatu Yumi 40.

Long live the relations between the State of Israel and the Republic of Vanuatu. Long God yumi stanap.

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