A screen grab of Israeli police breaking into the offices of the Palestinian Union of Agricultural Workers in Ramallah, West Bank, seizing equipment. Police also raided the offices of 5 other human rights organizations which they claimed were fronts for “terrorism”. This accusation was first laid 6 months ago by the Israeli government. Subsequent investigation by European countries concluded the allegations were “unconvincing”. Canada has looked the other way. It continues to do so…. Read more.
“This morning, Israeli Forces broke into, searched and sealed the offices of seven Palestinian human rights and humanitarian organizations in Ramallah in Area A of the occupied West Bank. Their property was confiscated and destroyed and military orders closing the offices were left at the premises,” wrote the UN Committee on Humanitarian Affairs, in a statement rejecting Israeli allegations of terrorist affiliations.
“Israeli authorities have not given any compelling evidence (… ) to support these allegations”, continued the UN statement, co signed by the Association of International Development Agencies.
Where is Canada?
A group of European countries immediately showed their anger by sending solidarity missions to a meeting convened by Al Haq, one of the affected organizations. Among the participating organizations were Sweden, Denmark, Holland, United Kingdom, France, Chile, Poland, Germany and Switzerland. But not Canada
Canadian civil society demands Canada speak up
Canadian civil society immediately called on the Canadian government to speak up.
*I am writing to urge you to take immediate action in support of six leading Palestinian NGOs, whose offices in Ramallah were raided and shut down by Israeli occupation forces early this morning,” wrote Michael Bueckart Vice President of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East in a strong letter to Canada’s foreign Minister Melanie Joly.
“Canada must immediately take the following actions”, continued Bueckart:
- Condemn Israel’s criminalization of Palestinian NGOs, and firmly reject the fraudulent “terrorist” designations;
- Hold Israeli officials accountable for its attacks on civil society by imposing sanctions; and
- Do everything in your power to support and protect the work of human rights defenders in Palestine, including by making diplomatic resources in Tel Aviv and Ramallah available to the targeted NGOs, should they request it.
Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV) also called on the Canadian government to condemn Israeli raids on Palestinian civil society
“Just this past June, Justin Trudeau reiterated that Canada and Israel ‘are close friends bound together by shared democratic values’,” said Rowan Gaudet, media and communications officer for IJV. “Does this mean we can expect Canada to shutter the offices of Canadian human rights and Indigenous groups and seize documents they’re using to investigate our government? Or will Canada finally condemn these actions and join with its European allies in rejecting Israel’s claims?”
Canada touts its reputation as a defender of human rights around the world.
“The promotion and protection of human rights is also an integral part of Canadian efforts abroad. In the face of rising authoritarianism, Canada must reinforce international peace and security, the rule of law, democracy, and respect for human rights.Justin Trudeau, Human Rights Day 2021.
Great intentions. But Canada should be consistent in the application of its policies. No country should get a pass.
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 Canada’s response to 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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