Montreal, July 12, 2011 — According to CBC and the Toronto Star, a spokesman for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister has indicated that Canada will oppose the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood. The bid is expected to be voted on at the UN in September. Spokesman Chris Day said, “the only solution to this conflict is one negotiated between and agreed to by the two parties.” He added that, “one of the states must be a Jewish state and recognized as such, while the Palestinian state is to be a nonmilitarized one.”
Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations foundered in September 2010. One key trigger was Israel’s resumption of the building of illegal Jewish-only colonies (settlements) on Palestinian land. The other was the Netanyahu administration’s introduction of a new precondition for negotiations: that the Palestinians recognize Israel defined as “a Jewish state.” Israel’s transfer of its civilian population to the Palestinian territories it has militarily occupied since 1967 violates international law and has been repeatedly criticized by most UN members. Israel’s government has not clarified what it means by the term “Jewish state,” nor defined what it considers that state’s borders to be.
“Given Israel’s evident lack of commitment to a negotiated solution to the conflict, we are dismayed by the Canadian government’s rejection of the Palestinian bid for statehood,” says Thomas Woodley, President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). CJPME points out that the right to national self-determination is a right protected in international law. It is also important to note that the UN Partition Plan of 1947 initially called for the creation of a Palestinian State. UN members have an obligation to support the prompt creation of this state.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs spokesman did not indicate what Canada was prepared to do to pressure Israel to respect international law so that substantive peace negotiations can begin. CJPME also observes that despite Israel’s frequent lethal military actions against Palestinians, Day did not urge that Israel — the world’s fourth largest military power — too be a “nonmilitarized” state. CJPME believes Canada’s Middle East policy should express equal expectations for all parties to conflicts.
For more information, please contact: Patricia Jean Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East Telephone: 438-380-5410 CJPME Email – CJPME Website