“Israel is infringing the human rights of over 11 million Palestinians”, Dr. Yousef Jabareen told nearly 200 people who came to hear him in Ottawa on October 18th. These include about 1.5 million Palestinians who live inside today’s Israel. Jabareen, who was elected to the Israeli Knesset in 2015, is one of them. He has a Ph.D. in law. He feels a “rights based” approach can give hope to the region. Watch the video.
Dr. Jabareen 44, is one of a new generation of Palestinian leaders. He was in Ottawa for a week of meetings with Canadian politicians, academics, NGO’s and other officials.
He had two main reasons for coming to Canada.
The first was to raise awareness among Canadians about the situation of the 1.5 million Palestinians who live inside Israel as second class citizens. Many Canadians have been told that Israel is “the only democracy in the middle east”, but don’t really understand the institutionalized discrimination that Israel imposes on the 20% of its citizens who are not Jewish.
The other reason was to better understand Canada’s approach to minority rights – including linguistic rights of its French speaking minority and the rights of Canada’s indigenous peoples. While not perfect, he feels that the Canadian example can be a way of showing the lack of rights for non-Jews in Israel.
In his only public meeting, organized by Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) Dr. Jabareen pointed out that in addition to the over 4 million Palestinians who are denied almost all their rights under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza, Israel also infringes the rights of more than another 6 million Palestinians. These include 5 million refugees who are denied even the basic right to live in their homeland, and a further 1.5 million Palestinians who, like him, live inside Israel as second class citizens as non Jews in a Jewish state.
As he sees it, a “rights based approach”, in which there is equality for all, can be one of the hopeful keys to resolving the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
Here is a 40 minute video of the evening. After some initial introductions, Dr. Jabareen’s remarks begin at about the 10 min mark. His presentation lasts about 30 minutes.
Following Jabareen’s presentation there was a lively discussion period. Many people lined up at the mikes. Some people asked questions, others wanted to express a point of view. Larson indicated that he was especially interested in hearing from people who disagreed with Dr. Jabareen.
A few Palestinian Canadians added their voices and experiences to what had already been said.
Several comments/questions were made by Jewish Canadians.
One man who identified himself as a liberal Zionist indicated he was prepared to support Dr. Jabareen’s call for equality inside Israel, but said that he could not support the right of Palestinian refugees to return to Israel, because this would negate Israel’s Jewish character.
While some in the audience were clearly upset by this statement, Dr. Jabareen responded in a positive vein by inviting the questioner to pursue a dialogue on how to give justice to the Palestinian refugees.
Here is the video of the Q&A session.
By 9:00 questions had to be cut off, though many of the audience swarmed him with further questions after the event had officially ended.
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