Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Netanyahu celebrate the signature of the “modernised” Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) in 2019. It directly contravenes a Security Council resolution which is mandatory for all UN members. The most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has made several recommendations aimed at countries like Canada which are ignoring UNSC resolutions. Read more and see our video interview.
The most recent report to the UN General Assembly by Professor Michael Lynk makes seven specific recommendations aimed at countries which are not compliant with mandatory UN Security Council resolutions.
Lynk is the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and is mandated to make two reports back to the UN every year. This is his 9th report.
In his most recent report Lynk focuses on the issue of foreign companies which continue to do business unhindered in the Occupied Territories. He has 7 recommendations aimed at these companies and at UN member states which, like Canada, make no effort to restrict such commerce, in violation of UNSC resolutions.
Lynk urges UNSC action
Two of Lynk’s recommendations affect Canada:
- RECOMMENDATION: request all States to refrain from any relations — including diplomatic, consular, trade and other agreements — with Israel implying any recognition of the authority of the Government of Israel over any part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
- RECOMMENDATION: Call upon all States to ensure that all corporate enterprises regulated by them cease any and all investment, commercial, operational and trade dealings of any sort with respect to the Israeli settlements, Israeli industrial enterprise zones or with companies regulated by the Government of Israel operating in the Occupied Palestinian Territory;
Lynk calls on the Security Council to take measures to apply pressure on Israel, and on companies and countries who continue to do business in the Occupied Territories.
Canada in violation of UNSC resolutions
Canada is one such country. Its newly modernised Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) directly violates UN Security Council resolution 2334 which calls upon “all States, (…) to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967.”
According to a recent analysis by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), CIFTA violates UNSC 2334 in two important ways:
- CIFTA’s definition of “Israeli territory” encompasses the occupied Palestinian territories. In this way, the Canadian government confers de facto legitimacy to Israeli colonies, enables their economic growth, and contributes to their permanence – all contrary to international law and official Canadian policy on Israeli colonies.
- CIFTA fails to address product labelling issues. CIFTA allows products made in the occupied Palestinian territories to enter Canada as “Israeli products”.
Perhaps more significantly, a clause from the original CIFTA, requiring the parties to interpret and apply its provisions “in accordance with applicable rules of international law” was quietly dropped from the text of the “modernized” agreement. No public explanation was offered.
Canadians who believe in the value of the United Nations and of international law might want to support the recommendations of the UN Special Rapporteur by emailing Prime Minister
Trudeau, (firstname.lastname@example.org) Global Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne (Francois-Philippe.Champagne@parl.gc.ca), or our UN Ambassador Bob Rae (Bob.Rae@international.gc.ca).
Canada Talks Israel Palestine (CTIP) is the weekly newsletter of Peter Larson, Chair of the Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine (OFIP). It aims to promote a serious discussion in Canada about the complicated and emotional Israel/Palestine issue with a focus on the truth, clear analysis and human rights for all. Readers with different points of view are invited to make comment.
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