Support for Israel and its security
Canada supports Israel's right to live in peace with its neighbours within secure boundaries and recognizes Israel's right to assure its own security, and to take proportionate measures in accordance with international law, including human rights and international humanitarian law, to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups.
Canada recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement.
Respect for human rights and international humanitarian law
Canada believes that Israel and the Palestinian Authority must comply with their obligations under international human rights law. Their respect for human rights and international humanitarian law is key to ensuring the protection of civilians, and can contribute to the creation of a climate conducive to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement. [more]
....our government is prone to making statements asserting political support for Israel while offering Palestinians aid that many observe ultimately works to support (Israeli) military security at the price of (Palestinian) human security.
Cannon reaffirmed $4 million in aid to Gaza humanitarian relief, but
delegated the bulk of the funding to efforts aimed at propping up
President Abbas' ailing government. For example, a Department of
Justice lawyer confirmed that the department is on the verge of signing
a contract with CIDA which would give the Canadian Justice Department
$20 million to provide training and other support to the Palestinian
Attorney General's Office.
Ottawa - “Israel’s decision to close off Gaza to international visitors is an outrage,” fumed Diana Ralph, Coordinator of Independent Jewish Voices (Canada). She was referring to the announcement by Israeli authorities that foreign participants scheduled to take part in the conference Siege and Mental Health… Walls vs. Bridges, in Gaza from the 27th to the 29th of October, would not be allowed admittance to the occupied region. "The complicity of the Canadian government in supporting the humanitarian disaster of the Gaza blockade is making the situation worse."
....One of the areas that receives very little local media attention is the official policy towards the Israeli/Palestine question -- seldom do the issues on Israel/Palestine surface in any of the media, and what little does generally follows the lines of Palestinian terrorists, the undemocratic Hamas takeover of Gaza, and the hardships of the Israeli population. The official Canadian policy found on the Federal Government website presents an interesting read that struggles to sound neutral and non-judgmental but taken in consideration with government actions, or more importantly, government inaction, a definite bias can be seen. What at first tries to be balanced and neutral becomes simply more rhetoric and dissimulation while maintaining the status quo of Israeli occupation and dominance.
.....More directly, the government website says it “recognizes Israel's right to assure its own security, and to take proportionate measures in accordance with international law.” The only proportionate measure allowed by international law is the UN right to self-defence in the case of attack. The Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, in response to a border raid by Hezbollah, resulted in Stephen Harper's disclaimer that the attack was “proportionate,” that the bombing of civilian infrastructure (against international law), the bombing of civilians (with over a thousand deaths, including a second devastating attack in Qana), carpet bombing with treacherous cluster bombs, were all a proportionate response to the death of three dead and two kidnapped border guards. As there have been ongoing border skirmishes over the years, and continual Israeli air space incursions into Lebanese territories, this response hardly seems “proportionate” by any definition. ...
In a fine sounding rhetorically expressive section, Canada argues that the Palestinian refugee problem “should respect the rights of the refugees, in accordance with international law.” Sounds great, except that the argument says we continue “to focus international attention on the situation of the more than four million Palestinian refugees, and to promote preparations for the eventual resumption of negotiations.” This is all news to me, and as a hopefully well-informed Canadian, following most media news on a daily basis, I see absolutely no evidence of this. ...
Occupation, settlements, the “barrier, and terrorism
In the four related areas of occupation, settlements, terrorism and the “barrier,” international law again comes to the forefront, with great rhetoric followed by no substance. In reference to the Fourth Geneva Conventions, Canada recognizes it as applying “in the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories.” Well written, sounds great -- but exactly what is Canada doing about it? Nothing that I can find. No speeches by Harper or any member of his caucus about the land grabs, the fake ‘military zones,' the killing of protesters, the hundreds of checkpoints that strangle the communities, separating farmers from farms and business, children from schools, families from families, everyone from whatever some IDF person feels like blocking on the spur of the moment. ....
Obversely, nothing is ever said of Israeli terror: the daily shootings and killings of innocent Palestinians; the use of torture in Israeli prisons; the destruction of homes by bombing or bulldozers; the ongoing psychological terror of checkpoints, aerial incursions, and attacks on peaceful protesters; the proliferation of nuclear weapons outside the NPT. Bringing it back closer to home, nothing is ever said of American terrorism: the torture of prisoners in American detention centres or their rendition overseas; the murder of civilians; the destruction of civilian infrastructure; the subversive activities used to promote dissent and destruction against legally elected representative governments; the threats of force against other countries, let alone the invasion of other countries, of which there is a large listing over the past century. If Canada is against terror, it needs to be equally against Israeli and American terror, the latter being the greatest originator of terror in the world.
The [Foreign affairs] website is so repetitive in its references to international law it becomes nothing but a stream of self-conscious apologetics trying to give the impression of wisdom and action.
So many words, so little action. So much rhetoric, but never anything ever said in Parliament, or the press, or any other media, against Israel's occupation and actual violation of international law. Instead, Canada accepts the “appropriate” response Israel applied in the 2006 Hezbollah war; Canada denies the fully democratic vote that gave Hamas a majority within the Palestinian Authority elections; Canada has designated aid assistance to Abbas following the futility and Pythonesque silliness of Annapolis, but denies Hamas any validity in Gaza.
Canada says nothing in a truly open and oppositional framework that tells Israel to withdraw from its illegal occupation, to allow the return of the four million displaced Palestinians, to stop imprisoning the one and a half million Palestinians in Gaza, to remove the settlements (or better yet, turn them over to the evicted Palestinians) and eliminate the Bantustan nature of Palestine, to remove the roadblocks and checkpoints that are used to terrorize the Palestinian people, to stop the military destruction of houses and farms and the military annexation of Palestinian territory. Canada, through its overwhelming silence and lack of action, remains a pawn of the United States in its relations with Israel, similarly held in thrall by the Canadian Jewish Congress, a pro-Zionist lobby group that meets a sympathetic voice within the Harper government's right-wing fundamentalist Christian views.
Allan Rock at the United Nations. photo: DFAIR In December 2004, under the Martin Liberal government, Canada changed its voting pattern at the United Nations. Previously, Canada had abstained from several votes requiring Israel to comply with its obligations under international law and withdraw from the territories it occupied in 1967. The Ambassador at the time, Allan Rock, said that the "value added" of the committees trying to put Palestinian rights on the agenda at the UN was "questionable." Canada began to vote against these resolutions.
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier issued a news release expressing his concern about the escalating violence in the Gaza Strip. It does nothing to help resolve the situation and only demonstrates that the Canadian government is only putting out more face-saving rhetoric for the international community and to placate the home crowd with platitudes about the non-existent peace process. It is an empty statement, devoid of any real suggestions to improve the situation in Gaza.
Language is all important within the statement. While he “deplores” the actions of Hamas, Israeli actions - which have resulted in far more misery and deaths – receive only the approbation that we are “very concerned about the impact” of Israeli actions. More language continues the bias. While the Hamas personnel are “terrorists” the Israelis are only defenders with a “clear right to defend itself.” ....
Hamas has consistently called for a “hudna” or cease-fire, one as equally consistently ignored by Israel as it does not suit their purposes. Israel has never truly ‘withdrawn' from Gaza; that was a publicity show for western media. Gaza remains essentially a prison camp to 1.5 million Palestinians, with no control over their borders, no control over their waterfront or fisheries, no control over their airspace and airports…in sum no control of anything.
Bernier still seems to think that the Annapolis Conference somehow renewed the totally defunct peace process, a process that only served Israel's desire to continue building settlements, occupying more and more Palestinian land, destroying more and more Palestinian farms, villages, and the very culture and society that supported the Palestinians. Bernier wants leaders on both sides “to prevent any actions that could undermine the peace process resumed at the Annapolis Conference last November.”