OFIP’s open letter to Foreign Minister Champagne: Will Canada ever actually implement its “official policy” opposing Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories?

EU countries protested Israeli demolition of Palestinian homes in Khirbet Humsah, (above) on 3 Nov. 2020. But the Trudeau Government looked the other way. Our official policy opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. But our real policy appears to be something else. Read OFIP’s open Letter to Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne inviting him to clarify what Canada’s real policy is. Read more…

On 3 Nov. 2020, with the eyes of the world on the US elections, Israel demolished an entire Palestinian community in the Jordan Valley. According to Btselem, an Israeli human rights organization, A convoy of bulldozers drove up to the tiny shepherds’ community of Khirbet Humsah and razed it to the ground. They left 74 people, 41 of them children, without shelter in the wind and rain.”

Immediately, many European diplomats raised their voices in shock and indignation. A delegation of heads of mission visited the destroyed village in solidarity with the desolate Palestinians. The delegation included many “like minded countries”.

When it comes to Israel, Canada’s REAL policy appears to be “Hear no evil, see no evil…”

However, Canada was nowhere to be seen. We do not appear to have joined the delegation, and no trace of any critical comment from Minister Champagne or Canada’s representatives in Israel/Palestine are to be found.

Canada’s official policy opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank. Canada is also a High Contracting Party to the Fourth Geneva Convention which forbids the destruction of civilian property except under certain circumstances.

OFIP has written an open letter to Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister Francois-Philippe Champagne to ask whether Canada plans to do anything to implement our “official” policy in response to Israel’s flagrant violation.

OFIP’s polite but firm letter to the minister reads in part:

On Friday, a group of European heads of Mission visited the community of Khirbet Humsu in a show of support for the Palestinian community. European Union Representative Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, who led the delegation, said it was “very clear” that the demolition of the structures “is contrary to international law.” https://www.thestar.com/news/world/2020/11/06/israel-criticized-over-west-bank-home-demolitions.html

The delegation also included some representatives of “like minded” countries  https://bit.ly/3evD0F5. But there is no indication that Canada’s representatives – either in Ramallah or in Tel Aviv – joined the delegation, or otherwise raised the smallest objection to the Israeli action, notwithstanding our “official” position. https://twitter.com/EUpalestinians/status/1324737437210419207

  • Honourable Minister, does Canada still stand by its official opposition to the Israeli occupation?
  • Does it oppose the destruction of Palestinian villages in the West Bank?
  • Does it consider the EU countries who spoke up “like minded”?
  • Does Canada agree with these “like minded countries” that Israel’s actions are illegal and a violation of the Fourth Geneva convention? And if so,
  • “What PRACTICAL ACTION OR STEPS is Canada planning to take to put its officially stated position into application?

Thank you in advance.

Chair, Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine

Read the full text of the letter here:

Call to implement Canada’s official policy

Canadian individuals or organizations who are concerned that Canada’s principled sounding brave talk is not being followed up in action, could consider bringing this issue to the attention of their friends/members. They might also want to write the minister directly.

____________________________________

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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to http://www.ottawaforumip.org.

6 comments

    1. Hey Ahmed, I understand your frustration. Trudeau/Champagne may well be planning to leave this contradiction unaddressed.
      At the moment, IMHO, not enough Canadians are interested in this issue for Trudeau/Champagne to pay attention.

      But it raises another important question = “What do we need to do to make it happen?”

      If you care about the issue, as I am sure you do, you (and I) need to figure out how to interest/involve more people so that T/C cant ignore it. Best.

  1. The best way to influence people on this problem is to describe the plight of the residents of the Palestinian villages without mentioning the perpetrators at all.

  2. Perhaps Trudeau and Foreign Minister would say that it is all nothing but ANTISEMITISM. Most likely they say nothing. Peter, how can we force Trudeau to comment?

    1. Hey Jake, in the short run… we can’t “force” Trudeau to comment.
      He is driven by a very simple cost/benefit political analysis. What would speaking up gain him, and what would it cost him. That is basic politics in a democracy.
      In the longer run, we need to get civil society organizations, churches, unions, etc to demand that Canada actually carry out its policy. If there is enough pressure, that will be noticed by the politicians.
      But I am pretty sure that a few angry letters wont do it.
      I wrote the blog post in the hopes that some of the organizations mentioned above might write their own letters, etc.

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