This article was originally published on February 16, 2017 on Canada Talks Israel Palestine.
Israel, its settlers and its military have been on an aggressive roll since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. From shooting a Palestinian member of Israeli Knesset, to killing a Bedouin citizen of Israel fighting expulsion, to demolishing 11 homes in the Israeli Palestinian town of Qalanswah, to announcing 6000 new settlement homes in the West Bank, to renewed bombing on Gaza, to retroactively legalizing settlements in the West Bank, Israel seems more determined than ever to exert its dominance over the Palestinians.
What has been Canada’s response? A month after being appointed, Canada’s new foreign affairs minister has finally made a comment:
“As a steadfast friend and ally of Israel, Canada is deeply concerned by the announced expansion of settlements and the retroactive legalization of settlers’ outposts, which are illegal under international law”, said a statement by Chrystia Freeman, Minister of Global Affairs.
It seems anguished expressions of “concern” are as far as Canada is willing to go. No concrete actions are proposed despite a recent UN Security Council resolution declaring that ALL of the settlements in the West Bank including East Jerusalem (not just those currently proposed or under construction) are illegal under international law.
After each Israeli step, observers darkly warn about the imminent death of the “two state solution”. But many feel that that 2 state solution is already beyond repair. Even Donald Trump now seems to have doubts. And there is ample evidence that many young Palestinians feel the “2 state solution” has been a shell game from the beginning.
But what is Canada concerned about? That Israel’s actions threaten the two-state solution.”Canada calls on all parties to refrain from unilateral actions that prejudge the outcome of direct negotiations and jeopardize the prospects for a two-state solution.”
Nowhere in the minister’s press statement is there mention of any Canadian concern that Palestinian Israeli parliamentarians have been shot by Israeli military, or that the homes of Palestinian citizens of Israel have been demolished, or that Bedouins trying to protect their villages have been killed, or that Israel is again bombing Gaza.
Canada, a self described “steadfast friend and ally of Israel”, appears to be much more comfortable talking about saving an increasingly hard-to-believe two state solution, than about human rights for Palestinians.