Canada appears more interested in supporting a “2 state solution” than in defending Palestinian human rights


Canada’s new Minister of Global Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, has finally spoken out about Israel – well sort of. Despite many recent Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights both in the occupied territories and inside Israel itself, a recent announcement seems to show her main preoccupation lies with promoting an increasingly improbable two state solution. Read more.

Israel, its settlers and its military have been on an aggressive roll since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. From shooting a Palestinian member of  Israeli Knesset, to killing a Bedouin citizen of Israel fighting expulsion, to demolishing 11 homes in the Israeli Palestinian town of Qalanswah, to announcing 6000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, to renewed bombing on Gaza, to retroactively legalizing settlements in the West Bank, Israel seems more determined than ever to exert its dominance over the Palestinians.

What has been Canada’s response? A month after being appointed, Canada’s new foreign affairs minister has finally made a comment:

“As a steadfast friend and ally of Israel, Canada is deeply concerned by the announced expansion of settlements and the retroactive legalization of settlers’ outposts, which are illegal under international law”, said a statement by Chrystia Freeman, Minister of Global Affairs.

It seems anguished expressions of “concern” are as far as Canada is willing to go. No concrete actions are proposed despite a recent UN Security Council resolution declaring that ALL of the settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem (not just those currently proposed or under construction) are illegal under international law.

After each Israeli step, observers darkly warn about the imminent death of the “two state solution”. But many feel that that 2 state solution is already beyond repair. Even Donald Trump now seems to have doubts. And there is ample evidence that many young Palestinians feel the “2 state solution” has been a shell game from the beginning.

But what is Canada concerned about? That Israel’s actions threaten the two-state solution.”Canada calls on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of direct negotiations and jeopardize the prospects for a two-state solution.”

Nowhere in the minister’s press statement is there mention of any Canadian concern that Palestinian Israeli parliamentarians have been shot by Israeli military, or that the homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel have been demolished, or that Bedouins trying to protect their villages have been killed, or that Israel is again bombing Gaza.

Canada, a self described “steadfast friend and ally of Israel”, appears to be much more comfortable talking about saving an increasingly hard-to-believe two state solution, than about human rights for Palestinians.


“Raise the issue, but lower the temperature”

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  1. Hi Peter,

    Good article. Would you be interested in writing one about the new poll that CJPME, IJV, Dimitri Lascari, and Murray Dobbin just released? Press conference today at 2 pm. See attached press release and a copy of the report. I’d appreciate it. (I wrote the report and it’s got amazing results!)



  2. an abysmal and insipid response from the minister of global affairs. no improvement over the Harper attitude. It’s embarrassing. Canada should be able to do better than this

  3. Rather sad the minister can utter all sorts of positive feeling about Israel even as she acknowledges all sorts of crimes and human rights abuses by Israelis against Palestinians yet the minister can’t even utter “Palestinian” once nor can she even hint that a two-state solution requires a two-nation agreement.

    Sadly, as others are stating, this is the same pathetic stance the former Conservative government refused to budge from.

    One does wonder, will there soon be a Chrystia Freeland park or a Justin Trudeau park opening on occupied Palestinian lands to book-end the Stephen Harper park built on stolen Palestinian lands?

    Her act is anything but diplomatic, instead it is yet another example of cowardism.

  4. It comes from the top: JT. Linda McQ’s article speaks of the consequences:

    Interested groups should advise the Minister that unless the Canada’s line is more just, we will write to the UN missions in 2020 or sooner, recommending against Canada’s inclusion on the UNSC because Canada continues to defy its resolutions and international law on this matter.

  5. Check how many Israeli Arabs were forced by Arafat and HAMAS to leave their homes, how many were killed, How many are world class doctors and scientist courtesy of living in Israel, getting education in Israel, working in Israel and representing Israel abroad(right less citizens ?). How come nobody is talking about returning home Arabs who for more that 70 years residing in working camps that were created by England during Word War Second ( they were brought there as labours)? By the way, how many Arabs that were forced to leave Israel by the same Arafat and later HAMAS, getting Israeli pension and couldn’t disclose it as they are scared for their life by pro-HAMAS supporters, include in Canada? How come that nobody remember how many hundreds real Palestinians were killed by King Hussein with full support of Egypt – “famous” Black September events? How come that nobody speaks about discrimination of Palestinians in Jordan – 80% are Palestinians are ruled by 20% of other groups, include .. Chechens?
    How come that nobody talks about Israeli class medical service provided by Israel to Palestinians from Gaza, include Hamas’s leaders?

    1. If you know the answers to these questions, why don’t you tell us. It would be nice if you could cite your references or sources at the same time. thanks.

      1. I’m going to take a shot here for anon on a few of those points:

        Black September / Jordan:

        Hamas ethnic cleansing:–Hamas_conflict , also attacks against Christian organizations like the YMCA (,7340,L-3302162,00.html)

        Gaza Hamas leader who got medical treatment: recently elected Yahya Sinwar:

      1. cd-host. I’m sorry, I don’t understand what you are asking. Can you please explain. Do you want me to delete one of your earlier replies? If so, can you pls give me the exact time or the first line. thanks.

    2. Your posting is comprised of classic Hasbara, i.e., deflection.

      You make no reference to the well over one million Palestinians dispossessed and expelled by Jewish forces and the IDF between late 1947 and June 1967 through force of arms, terrorism, several massacres, mass rape and intimidation. Nor do you note Israel’s belligerent/illegal/brutal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands as a result of the war it launched on June 5 1967 or its ongoing/accelerating dispossession and oppression of the indigenous inhabitants of historical Palestine, including collective punishments, destruction of homes and olive/fruit groves, theft of water resources, torture, imprisonment without charge, etc.) All in gross violation of hard won international humanitarian law (e.g., the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute, etc., binding on all UN members and ratified by Israel), which came about as the result of the monstrous crimes of the Nazis, including the systematic slaughter of 6 million Jews.

      For your further edification:

      Australian film ‘Stone Cold Justice’ on Israel’s torture of Palestinian children

      A film produced by a group of Australian journalists has sparked an international outcry against Israel after it explicitly detailed Tel Aviv’s use of torture against Palestinian children.
      The film, titled ‘Stone Cold Justice’ documents how Palestinian children, who have been arrested and detained by Israeli forces, are subjected to physical abuse, torture and forced into false confessions and pushed into gathering intelligence on Palestinian activists. Australia’s foreign minister Julie Bishop has spoken out against Israeli’s use of torture stating that “I am deeply concerned by allegations of the mistreatment of Palestinian children,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor has described the human rights abuses documented in the film as “intolerable”. But rights groups have slammed this statement, saying that the Israelis are doing nothing to change Tel Aviv’s policy to torture Palestinian children.

      Last year a report by the United Nations International Emergency Children’s Fund or UNICEF concluded that Palestinian children are often targeted in night arrests and raids of their homes, threatened with death and subjected to physical violence, solitary confinement and sexual assault. The film Stone Cold Justice has sparked an international outcry about Israel’s treatment of children in Israeli jails. However, rights groups have criticized Tel Aviv for not doing anything to create a policy that protects Palestinian children against arbitrary arrest and torture.

      Precarious Childhood: Arrests of Jerusalemite Children
      This film addresses the process of arrest, interrogation, and the policy of house arrest and their effects on children. The film provides accounts of children who were arrested in order to highlight a larger policy of persecution and targeting of Palestinian children in Jerusalem.

      Gaza 2014

      1. @David

        If you are concerned about Jerusalem this one is easy to solve. Israeli Arabs get the full range of protections of the civilian system
        a) If they are arrested by the military they have to be transferred to the civilian juvenile court system (Youth Branch). Where they are handled by judges.
        b) The emphasis of the juvenile system is on welfare of the child, rehabilitation not prosecution or stigmatization.
        c) They have full rights of Israeli demonstrates and get a range of judicial protections against ideologically motivated persecutions.
        d) They have special protections against sexual abuse by other prisoners while in custody

        Non citizens don’t enjoy those rights. Non citizens in occupied territory get tried by a military court which has little interest in individual welfare (or even individual justice) and is mostly concerned with maintaining order. The military dictatorship in the West Bank, like any dictatorship maintains order through the use of terror against a civilian population. Every permanent resident of Jerusalem can apply for Israeli citizenship and that is frequently granted. Most Arab Jerusalem residents have refused to apply for idealogical reasons. Given a choice between being part of Israeli society and getting the benefits and protections of that society and living under a military dictatorship so as to make a ridiculous political statement they choose the political statement.

        The world community has encouraged this obstinance by treating Jerusalem even though it has been annexed by Israel as occupied territory. Israel has repeatedly agreed to be the governing power of Jerusalem. One can (and I would) criticize Israel for holding back in extending full Israeli law to Jerusalem and not making it a choice for Jerusalemites. However, BDSers who insist that Jerusalem is part of some state called “Palestine” and is not in Israel at all, that Jerusalem is occupied territory… can’t then run around and complain that the government of Israel isn’t extending civilian law to all Jerusalemites.

        You can’t have it both ways. Either Jerusalem is part of Israel and then Israel is the one improperly governing it or Jerusalem is in a foreign country and has no more to do with Israel than Shanghai. You don’t like the government of Palestine take it up with the government of Palestine which under this concept would be a military dictatorship strongly allied with Israel. You want to admit that there is no Palestine, admit that Jerusalem is in Israel then you can then complain (rightfully) about how Israel is failing to be a good government.

      2. @David

        The state directed abuse and torturing of children is certainly one of the more egregious crimes of Israel and it alone should be enough for Canada to implement sanctions against the pariah state.

        This is particularly true in Jerusalem where Israel claims sovereignty yet has never legally annexed the city. The Palestinian residents of the city are routinely denied citizenship despite the great cost and effort. Applications are for the most part stalled and ignored.

  6. The Canadin Govt needs to make a Statement – criticizing Israel for the continued Stealing of Palestinian land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the continued Illegal occupation of those lands for over 50 years and the Biggesf open air prison in Gaza!!!

  7. It doesn’t make sense to implement Canada Charter of rights and freedoms at home, and forget other oppressed people.

    If Canada wants to be honest and fair, Canada should stand up for injustices in other places as well.

  8. While Israel continues to pile violation upon violation of international law, as well as the GC, Canada turns a blind eye and appeases Israel once more. Almost 70 years of appeasement has only resulted in encouraging more violations of IL, IHL and GC.

    It is time to say enough pariah amd rogue behaviour is enough.

    BDS is not enough. Full blown sanctions are required.

  9. There have been two states for some time. Palestine is recognized by governments representing the majority of people in the world. For the most part Palestine has been recognized for the past 30 years.

    The problem is one state (Israel) covets the land of the other (Palestine) and continues to steal it by force of arms.

    Israel’s recent settlement law amounts to retroactive legalized theft. That Israelis support the law (if they do) does not add legitimacy to the law but it does reflect poorly on it’s leaders, electorate and supporters.

  10. I question the title of this article – that Canada is interested in supporting a two-state solution. It is true that, when Canadian government officials are asked, they squawk “two-state solution” over and over like a demented parrot… or like an incantation to ward off the Evil Eye (of public scrutiny). Perhaps they feel they need to do this for domestic and international consumption.
    But judging by actions not words, Canada is indifferent to a two-state solution and just supports whatever Bibi does and wants.

  11. Hi Peter, Could you please send me the part on narratives for both sides Jewish/Palestinians. I am enjoying your class. Thank you, Louise ———- Message d origine ———- De : Canada Talks Israel/Palestine <> Daté : 16 février 2017 à 10:42 Peter Larson posted: " Canada's new Minister of Global Affairs, Chrystia Freeland, has finally spoken out about Israel – well sort of. Despite many recent Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights both in the occupied territories and inside Israel itself, a recent announ"

  12. @Peter

    There is a post of mine stuck in moderation queue. You had asked for evidence from Anonymous on a few of his points. While I couldn’t understand all of them on 3 I knew what he was talking about and provided links since he didn’t (though maybe he did and that one is also stuck in moderation). Likely you have this blog set to more than 1 link goes to moderation. My post sat for a long time. So I was telling you I had a post stuck in moderation (since I assume you hadn’t noticed) and you could delete the post where I was telling you it was stuck in moderation and …

  13. I have made two or three attempts to leave a comment. but something is wrong. I 1st made an attempt when I 1st got the email, titled ,Canada appears more interested in supporting a 2 state solution than in defending Palestinian human rights. how can it be fixed to work so I can leave a comment?.

    On Thu, Feb 16, 2017 at 10:42 AM, Canada Talks Israel/Palestine wrote:

    > Peter Larson posted: ” Canada’s new Minister of Global Affairs, Chrystia > Freeland, has finally spoken out about Israel – well sort of. Despite many > recent Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights both in the occupied > territories and inside Israel itself, a recent announ” >

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