Is Trudeau already looking for “wiggle room” on his call for Gaza inquiry? It looks like it.

trudeau pensive

Only a few days ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was aggressively calling for an independent investigation into the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Then CIJA began a serious lobbying effort. And he got a call from Mr. Netanyahu. Trudeau is caught like a deer in the headlights. But perhaps Mr. Netanyahu has found him a way out…. Read more…

Many observers were surprised when, a few days after Prime Minister Trudeau called for an investigation into Israeli killing unarmed protesters in Gaza, Canada seemed to reverse field. Our representative to the UN in Geneva strongly criticized a resolution passed 29 – 2 by the UN Human Rights Council calling for just such an investigation. Only Australia and the United States voted against it.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland told the House of Commons on Tuesday that Ottawa believes that the UN resolution was “mostly pushed by Pakistan and other Muslim countries” and was “biased against Israel”. (In fact, the resolution was proposed by Pakistan, but only 10 of the 29 countries which voted in favour of the resolution could be called “Muslim’.)

It appeared to be an awkward “walk back” by a Prime Minister under pressure.

However Minister Freeland may have revealed the Liberal government’s strategy for saving face and helping out its friend and ally – by calling for a new, different inquiry, separate from the UNHRC, one that might be less critical of Israel.

Freeland told MPs that Canada is talking to other ”international partners” about setting up a “neutral inquiry”. She did not give any indication as to who these partners might be, what authority they might have, or how the inquiry would function.

It seems possible that Netanyahu suggested this to Trudeau. Israel did the same thing when it faced with a similar dilemma a few years ago.

In May 2010, Israeli navy commandos intercepted a civilian convoy carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza, boarding the Mavi Marmara, and killing 10 Turkish civilians. Then, as now, the incident provoked international outrage. The UNHRC launched an investigation, as did the International Criminal Court, both eventually releasing damning reports (here and here).

In order to neutralize this, Israel and its allies persuaded UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to convene a separate “Panel of Inquiry” comprised of representatives from Israel, Turkey, and two international panelists Even though it had no investigative powers and was not asked to adjudicate legal responsibilities, the panel nevertheless took it upon itself to declare that Israel’s naval blockade was “a legitimate security measure” –thereby confusing the issue and discrediting the ICC and other investigations.

It will be interesting to see who Canada proposes to put on the new “neutral” panel and what it’s mandate might be.


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  1. Of course Mr.. Netanyahu knows well how to find Mr. Trudeau a way out from his commitment. He and his government has been getting away with murders, killings and genocide for many years now, this is not something new.
    Backing off from independent investigation into the killing of Palestinians would be a grave mistake and a slap on Canadian democracy. Mr. Trudeau must keep its promise and represent himself as a leader of a sovereign country that believes in human rights and justice, don’t be a puppet for apartheid state.

  2. Thanks Peter for these memos: I plan to get a note off to my MP shortly. FYI, Michael Harris had an interesting column in iPolitics on the subject that you might be interested in.

    All the best and please keep up the good work, it is very important.

    Thanks again.


    On Thu, May 24, 2018 at 2:30 PM Canada Talks Israel/Palestine wrote:

    > Peter Larson posted: ” Only a few days ago, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau > was aggressively calling for an independent investigation into the killing > of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Then CIJA began a serious lobbying > effort. And he got a call from Mr. Netanyahu. Trudeau is c” >

  3. “Neutral”??? If anyone has paid any attention to this issue, and they claim to be neutral, tyhey are lying. Either you think it’s ok for Israel to massacre unarmed protestors who are posing no threat to Israel, or you are a true human being who is horrified that innocent Palestinian lives are so eagerly and joyfully snuffed out with the pull of an Israeli soldier’s finger on the trigger of his gun. I hope Trudeau starts caring more about justice than losing any political points with the Zionists.

  4. Good on JT. Recalling the meme “Joe Who?” after Clark’s brief Prime Ministership in 1980, I wouldn’t be disappointed if by the end of next year, my children ask me, “Justin Who?”

  5. After having slaughtered a 100 plus Gazans, the Israeli Defense Minister announced further West Bank settlements adding another 2500 houses. Like the icing on the cake; each massacre is followed by another land grab. Submission to the will of Israel has been for close to half a century now, the standard western response to whatever Israel demands. They have total immunity; kill, occupy lands; do whatever you like; we have your back. Canada is but a small player on the international stage; there is not much it can do alone. Canada will have to look for partners in Europe to say to Israel “enough is enough”. Watching talk shows from Tel Aviv it is obvious that killing Palestinians has become a spectator sport for many of the Zionists.

  6. Minister Chrystia Freeland’s statement makes it clear that “Muslim countries” cannot be Canada’s “international partners”. Does the Minister have in mind US and Australia as likely “neutral” partners for the Gaza Inquiry? Is the “bias against Palestinians” a concern?

  7. Good analysis Peter of the wiggle room PMJT is seeking especially after his own representative in Geneva had already contradicted PMJT’s own statement calling for such a neutral investigation by rejecting the UNHRC overwhelmingly approved resolution on such a review which has already been rejected by Israel. (Do not think that any US representative at the UN would survive such a slight to POTUS policies although Trump and Nicki often get their communications and messages mixed).

    PMJT should beware any demands from Netanyahu to criticise or dismiss such a neutral international investigation and certainly not get involved or endorse any Israeli investigation. Global Affairs Minister Freeland should continue her quest to find partners for a neutral review. But do not expect much success while human rights groups in (both Israeli and international) remain under such pressure in Israel Palestine. The most egregious examples are the Human Rights Watch country director recently being asked to leave Israel Palestine and multiple American and international rights groups being excluded from entry including the Quakers and Jewish Voce for Peace JVP ostensibly for their support of BDS. (All of this confirmed by Amnesty International Director in Ottawa on Wednesday).

    PMJT and GAC Minister Freeland should get into the game: by calling on Netanyahu: to adhere to the ICC and stop opposing attempts for the ICC to investigate the Gaza killings; to allow the normal and international human rights processes and organizations in Israel and Palestine to do their normal work in the “only democracy in the Middle East”; and to implement a two state solution of sovereign Istrael and Palestine with their capitals in West and East Jerusalem respectively including an international regime for the holy places – that would serve to end most of the egregious human rights violations in Israel and Palestine.

  8. Like escalating climate change that media love to ignore lest they awaken the defending mother in all of us, it seems whatever atrocities Israel employs to retain millions of Palestinians in open-air prisons is ok as long as we accept the old lie that “at least they -Israeli’s- aren’t Muslim.”

    As expected, Trudeau has flipped. Apparently it’s far more important to have and retain ties to certain world leaders than to consider the impact on ordinary human beings of the deeds of those “leaders”.

    But of course, as Freeland notes, there is the issue of some who object to Israel’s actions being Muslim.

    As someone who has opposed Trudeau’s stance here in BC on the doomed K-M pipeline, this Palestinian crisis of humanity most certainly clarifies our Prime Minister’s worldview that established power must be coddled lest it get pushed out of the way by inconvenient facts.

    In the end, I’m anticipating the Israeli military will produce it’s own report of the slaughters and thanks to US veto power, that’s about as far as any investigation that gets sunlight will ever delve into it.

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