Friday, August 29, 2008

Canadian Complicity Undermining Peace in the Middle East

Canada has become one of the strongest supporters of Israel's violations of international law, with Prime Minister Harper infamously calling extensive bombing of Lebanese civilians in 2006 a “measured response”. The minority Conservative government made Canada the first in the world to cut off funding to the democratically elected government of Palestine in 2006. The Harper government has also taken an unbalanced approach to the Middle East with its unquestioning support of Israeli militarism at key United Nations votes.

In addition, the Harper government has been a key supporter of Israeli and US sabre-rattling against Iran. This, despite the fact that Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons, and the US and Israel already possess such weapons and have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran.

Israel @ 60: No Time to Celebrate

In 2008 Israel is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its “founding” in 1948. Palestinians and allies around the world are saying this is NO TIME TO CELEBRATE!

Palestinian Civil Society organizations issued a statement in March 2008 calling on civil society around the world to Boycott the “Israel at 60” Celebrations, and to instead focus on the Sixty Years of Dispossession and Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine.

In May 2008, Israel celebrated the birth of a Jewish state but disavowed any responsibility for the destruction of the Palestinian homeland and the forced displacement and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, what Palestinians call the Nakba, or Catastrophe. More than half of the indigenous Palestinian population living in Palestine (an estimated 1.3 million people) was displaced by Zionist militias and the State of Israel between the end of 1947 and early 1949.

According to the Palestinian Appeal to International Civil Society:

"Israel at 60 is a state that continues to deny Palestinian refugees their UN-sanctioned right to return to their homes and receive compensation, simply because they are “non-Jews”. It still illegally occupies Palestinian and other Arab lands, in violation of numerous UN resolutions. It persists in its blatant denial of fundamental Palestinian human rights, in contravention of international humanitarian law and human rights conventions. It still subjects its own Palestinian citizens to a system of institutionalized discrimination, strongly reminiscent of the defunct apartheid regime in South Africa. And Israel gets away with all this, thanks to the unprecedented immunity granted to it by the unlimited and munificent US and European economic, diplomatic, political, and academic support."