Israeli police break into offices of Palestinian human rights organizations, seizing or destroying documents. UN and many European countries strongly object. Canada remains mum

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?

Seventeen countries and organizations attended an emergency solidarity meeting at the offices of Al Haq, including many of Canada’s traditional allies. But Canada did not attend

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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  1. Justin,like his father can spin a great deal on what ought to be the focus of our government on the international front, but unlike Pierre, his son hasn’t the depth to follow through.

  2. It is worth noting that these offices were in Ramallah, the location of the Palestinian Natioinal Authority (PA) defacto capital. There are PA forces responsible for this area. Did they have a role?

  3. Meet Laith Marouf, one of Canada’s most vile antisemites. The 🇨🇦 government gave him a $133,000 grant to build an “anti-racism strategy” for Canadian broadcasting. That’s like paying Jack the Ripper to run a women’s shelter. Top officials must take responsibility and resign.

    That is Canada’s problem, not interfering in the Israeli-palestinian conflict.

    1. Hello Mr. Sigman,
      For once we seem to agree.

      I don’t know Mr. Marouf, and had never heard of him before seeing the article in the paper this morning.
      but if in fact Marouf made those comments, I find them vulgar, shocking and unacceptable.

      He may have intended to focus on “Jewish supremacists” as his lawyer claims, but at the very least he was not clear. When the tweet argues that “you all will have to go back where you came from”, it certainly leads to the conclusion he is talking about Jews in general.

      I don’t personally know anybody who holds those vile views about Jews, although I am sure they do exist. The fight against antisemitism is important, and I support it.

    2. Isn’t Mr. Sigman doing whataboutism or gaslighting or anything but addressing what Peter Larson posted. Israel is doing its usual thing by calling critics of its apartheid system antisemites or terrorists because it cannot realistically defend what it is doing and Mr. Sigman, because he defends Israel’s indefensible crimes against humanity, is also a war criminal according to international law which says that you are guilty of crimes against humanity by a state if you support them even if you do not live in that state. Of course, so are Justin Trudeau, Bob Rae, Irwin Cotler, and many others. Hopefully a time will come when, like Henry Kissinger, Mr. Sigman and the others won’t be able to travel for fear of being arrested by countries more civilized than Canada who believe in international law.

  4. Here is another issue that should concern all Canadians rather than the overblown reaction to Israel shutting down organizations with links to terrorism, regardless of European support for those organizations:

    On August 1, Meshwar’s (a Canadian Arabic newspaper) General Director and Editor, Nazih Khatatba, posted the following on his personal Facebook account (originally in Arabic):

    “The vast majority of ambassadors and mediators the US administration sends to the Middle East are Zionists and hold Israeli citizenship, and they owe more loyalty to this entity [Israel] than the US itself, including the US envoy Amos Hochstein [who was assigned] to negotiate with Lebanon on the demarcation of the region’s maritime borders and gas resources. He is not considered a mediator but rather a negotiator for the occupation entity more than his leaders. He is trying to play on the factor of time and procrastination, buying the debts of some loyal Lebanese leaders and activating the role of pawns to pressure Hizbollah. Still, this game that succeeded with the Palestinian Authority will not gain success with [Hassan] Nasrallah [leader of Hezbollah].”

    1. Hello Mr. Sigman,
      You are exceedingly well informed. Do you read Arabic? You live in the USA but read FB accounts from Palestinian Canadians. Very impressive. How did you come across this? Or do you work for, or with, some Israeli organization. In that case, in the interests of transparency, perhaps you could tell us which one.

      Do you disagree with the allegation that most US ambassadors/mediators etc. sent to the ME are Zionists? Don’t they start from the position that Israel needs to exist and should be defended? Isn’t that the basis of political zionism? That is the US position, so it is reasonable that their ambs also hold that position. I have no idea how many of them hold Israeli citizenship. Do you?

      In any event, this has nothing to do with the shuttering of 6 human rights organizations on spurious (or at least unverified) allegations of terrorist affiliation.

      I think the intent of your comment is to draw attention away from the human rights issue at hand.

    2. Mr. Sigman, What’s your point? Are you saying the facts are wrong? If so, please supply the correct information. Are you saying that although the facts are correct, he should not be publishing them? If so, why? Are you saying that the statement is biased by omitting facts? If so, what are the missing facts?

      I simply do not understand the relevance of this quote to the discussions we are having in this forum. I would be happy to read your explanation.

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