Prime Minister Trudeau has established a special 8 member team to shepherd Canada’s bid to become a member of the elite UN Security council. But analysts say Canada’s membership is not a slam-dunk. One big obstacle – our policy of defending Israel from international criticism. Read more.
The Hill Times reported this week that Global Affairs Canada has established a dedicated team to work on the government’s goal of winning a two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council beginning in 2021.
Eight people are working on Canada’s bid for the Security Council, with six at headquarters in Ottawa and two at Canada’s permanent mission to the UN in New York City, according to the foreign ministry.
The top diplomat on the file is Canada’s permanent representative to the UN in New York City, Marc-André Blanchard.
But several former senior Canadian diplomats feel that Canada’s determined support of Israel in the face of its repeated violations of international law and UN resolutions, makes this a difficult task.
“Israel is in repeated contravention of UN resolutions but is shielded from any meaningful consequences by the U.S. veto in the Security Council”, noted Peggy Mason, a former Canadian Ambassador for Disarmament and now President of the Rideau Institute. “Canada’s alignment with the United States on the Israel/Palestine issue leaves us isolated from the large majority of UN member states.”
In a series of votes at the General Assembly (here, here and here) last November and December, Canada was one of only 5 nations (including Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau) which voted with the USA to shield Israel from criticism over its human rights abuses in the Occupied territories.
Former Canadian Ambassador to the UN Paul Heinbecker, when reached by phone, observed, “Canada’s position on Israel puts it at odds with all of the other members of the Security Council except the USA. This will not help our bid for a seat“.
Growing international condemnation of Israel
Just before Christmas, the Security Council adopted by a vote of 14 to 0, a strong resolution reaffirming that ALL Israeli construction in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) is in violation of International law. Only the USA abstained.
When Israel responded to the UN vote by doubling down, announcing even more settlement construction, and then adopting a new law which legalizes the theft of Palestinian land in the West Bank, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed “deep regret” over the bill, saying it was “in contravention of international law and will have far-reaching legal consequences for Israel. Many of Canada’s allies, including France, Germany and Britain issued strong statements of condemnation. Even several Canadian Jewish organizations expressed their opposition.
But not from Canada…
In contrast, neither Trudeau nor Canada’s new minister of Foreign Affairs, Chrystia Freeland has made any statement at all.
In fact, Canada is now in violation of that UN security council resolution which amongst other things, calls on all member states to differentiate between Israel and the Occupied Territories. Canada has a free trade agreement with Israel which, like the US-Israel agreement, treats goods made in the illegal Israeli settlements as if they were coming from Israel.
“A big challenge for Canada in winning the seat will be to convince other nations that we have an independent foreign policy and that putting Canada on the Security Council would not be seen as tantamount to giving the USA a second vote”, warns former UN Ambassador Heinbecker.
“Raise the issue, but lower the temperature”
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