Europeans meet Palestinian victims in Huwara and condemn illegal settlements as the source of the violence in West Bank. Canada attends, but avoids signing joint press release

NOTE: David da Silva, Canada’s representative to the Palestinian Authority joined the meeting in Huwara along with other diplomats. Good.

But it appears his bosses in Ottawa wouldn’t allow him to sign the joint declaration which clearly said “settler violence is a result of Israels continued settlement activity.” da Silva’s tweet was good, but less clear about who was responsible.

What remains unclear is whether Canada or ANY of those signing the joint press release will take any action against Israel or whether the condemnations will remain devoid of consequence.

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.

Want to learn more about us? Go to Ottawa Forum on Israel/Palestine


  1. While I am heartbroken and disgusted by Jewish violence in Huwara, the joint statement ignores the elephant in the room, which is the huge upsurge in organized Palestinian violence against Israelis, and in particular it makes no mention of the murders of two young men in Huwara the day before the Jewish violence. The Jewish violence has been denounced by virtually everyone in the Jewish community, including the Israeli Prime Minister in the strongest terms.

    The claim that the violence in the territories is caused by Israeli settlement, and not by the rash of Palestinian murder, beggars belief and leaves Jews feeling like Jewish lives don’t matter. I’m glad Canada’s representative went to Huwara. I denounce the behaviour of Jewish vigilantes who took the law into their own hands in response to the murders the day before.

    But I am also glad that our representative didn’t sign on to the absurd claim that the violence is caused by the presence of Jews in the area rather than by the wanton murders committed by Palestinians in the area.

    As Gil Troy writes today in the Wall Street Journal, “Anti-Jewish violence comes from the mainstream of Palestinian society. It is celebrated and its perpetrators are rewarded financially by the Palestinian Authority. Jewish violence against Arabs comes from the fringes of Israeli society. It is denounced across the political spectrum.”

    A huge amount of money was raised by Israelis to help the victims in Huwara. No regret, let alone money is heard from the Palestinians about the daily murderous attacks directed at Jews.

    1. Hello David,
      i am always interested in your comments.
      I had thought you were more in the “liberal zionist” camp, rather than the “right wing zionist” camp. But now I am confused. Surely you have read statements from Peace Now, and New Israel Fund of Canada about what they call a “pogrom”.

      There is violence on both sides, of course.

      Israel and the settlers would like “peace”. But what they mean by “peace” is that Palestinians will stand back humbly and let their lands be taken, olive trees be uprooted, animals be killed etc.

      If you had been in a stetl in Russia facing repeated attacks from those who wanted jews to leave, what would you have done?

      If there were any indication that the settlers and their settlements were shrinking, that they were being beaten back by Palestinians, at least you would have had a thread to go on. But its the settlements that are expanding.

      Finally, how many jews have been injured or killed in the WB this year? How many Palestinians? please check out the latest stats from the UNOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
      It reports that in the last 2 weeks over 1000 Palestinians have been injured by Israeli forces while 5 Israelis have been injured.

      1. Hi Peter. Thanks for your reply. I think my position has been pretty consistent and I certainly consider myself a Liberal Zionist. You and I may have different understandings of what the term means.

        While some Israelis and some Jewish organizations are calling the horrible events in Huwara a “pogrom”, I respectfully disagree with the use of that term for the reasons explained by Gil Troy in the article I referenced.

        Pogroms were organized by the Russian state and the perpetrators were encouraged by the state and faced no consequences. By contrast the events in Huwara were perpetrated by enraged vigilantes and the state has taken action against them. They are being denounced in the press and by a broad swathe of Jewish leadership, both in Israel and abroad.

        Calling the events in Huwara a pogrom implies that the state is complicit in the violence and that is not true in my opinion. In fact the perpetrators have frequently committed violence against the Israeli authorities as well and they constitute an ongoing threat to the rule of law.

        By contrast, the violence committed by Palestinians against Israelis is celebrated in Palestinian society and the perpetrators are rewarded financially by the Palestinian Authority. It comes from the mainstream and not from the periphery.

        While Israel engages in an internal fight over the future of its democracy, Palestinian violence is particularly counterproductive as it strengthens the most extreme elements in the government.

      2. Hey David,
        I wasn’t there, but there were many eye witnesses to the effect that the Israeli forces stood back and allowed the “pogrom” (quoting Times of Israel and other sources) to unfold. I think the Israeli state was complicit notwithstanding the fact that some leaders claimed to be horrified.

        Like you, I don’t like pictures of people “celebrating” attacks on civilians – but I think thre were just as many pics of Israeli Jews doing that as Palestinians.

  2. I am disappointed and outraged that Canada has consistently refused to sign on to the statements of the United Nations and most recently the Joint Press Release condemning illegal Israeli settlements as the main cause of settler violence against Palestinians. As a citizen of a country that has claimed to be committed to human rights, we have failed miserably both on the world stage and domestically to put our words into practice. I’m done with the empty words and inaction of our government.

  3. It is totally unbelievable that Zionists like the one above, would try to somehow justify/compare Israeli violence of decades of settler colonialism, land theft, demolitions, water theft, decimation of Palestinian economy, restrictions, over 300 monthly breaking into homes, torturing children, systematic murders, where never anyone is investigated and thousands more crimes.
    Recent Israeli attacks a few times, were preemptive strikes. (By Israel’s admission). So how many Israel can kill before someone loses his sanity and strikes back, knowing that it will result in collective punishment, which is a war crime.

    Peter, I also don’t agree that “there’s violence on both sides”. Israel decided decades ago that it will take over the West Bank by any brutal means, so all atrocities happens due to this.
    The Israeli violence is conducted by the state and the army. In Palestine anything done, which is miniscule, done by individuals or a small group, in lieu of unimaginable sufferings they go through for decades. By the way these attacks are allowed by Geneva convention.

    Re our government silence or non action, in regard to the Israeli crimes. It’s not inaction, it’s very much action. Action of knowingly being complicit to the crimes, of supporting Israel totally and where it’s impossible, deny any politician from criticize Israel. This is Trudeau, the champion of human rights.

  4. Whether to dismiss the attack in Huwara as a pogrom or not because it wasn’t Russians and Jews is splitting hairs. Definitions of genocide, hate speech, antisemitism, Islamophobia etc. do not depend on the perpetrators or recipients, the actions speak for themselves. The thugs who attacked the village are simply the ugly face of a deeply embedded streak of discrimination in israeli society and politics. After all someone voted for the far right parties that form the coalition now. Secondly to say it’s not institutional is utterly wrong. For years the army and police have abetted settler violence and on occasion taken part. Soldiers dancing in the street after two more Palestinians were killed in huwara today and more during the raid on jenin, and comments like the village should be destroyed are not the views of a fringe of israeli society. And by the way, they have not been punished, some were caught but have been released. Having world outrage at these action is hardly punishment, since the settlers have returned to commit more damage. Even the terms to describe the events are telling. The Palestinian was a “terrorist”, the setters were just that, settlers.
    The settlement movement has gradually been gaining ground since 1967 when Sharon said to grab as much land as possible and build on it. Unfortunately the west is too enthralled with itself to see the hypocrisy of their policies and the destruction that settler fanaticism can do both to Palestinians, Israelis and the numerous laws and conventions that have built up over the years to prevent just such fascist ideas from developing.
    The last point is that stating that attacks against Israelis are wanton acts repeats the trope that Arabs are inherently hostile to Jews, and only serves to reinforce the orientalist attitude to Middle Eastern indigenous people. It’s dismissive of Palestinian legitimate grievances and frames their struggle as a religious one. This is a misleading and unhelpful approach. It would be better framed as a resistance to occupation not to Jews since I doubt that anyone cares the nationality or religion of their oppressors.
    It’s shameful that our government over the years has accepted this narrative and adopted a distinctly anti Palestinian bias. This only serves to exacerbate cruelty of the occupation and risks endangering both Israeli and Palestinian lives. This is untenable in the long run and will only entrench Palestinian resistance. It simply doesn’t have to be this way.

  5. From their first appearance in Palestine in the early 20th century right down to today, Zionists have behaved as ordinary criminals, taking the land and possessions of the indigenous, semitic population, killing those who resisted, and brazenly deporting entire villages of non resisting families. Now, the Zionist cabal kills with IMPUNITY, imprisons Palestinians, civilians – men, women children – keeping then in prison, WITHOUT CHARGE OR ADJUDICATION and – without a a syllable of legal justification – these arrogant liers claim to own all of Palestine, which is now to be converted into an ethnic enclave. Are they never to be punished?

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