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The City of Montreal must cancel its Economic Mission to Israel

Publication date : 2016-09-27

Press Release

Montreal, September 26th, 2016

The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre and Toronto Mayor John Tory will visit Israel - and, symbolically, the West Bank - as part of an economic mission from November 13th to November 18th, 2016. In so doing, the mayors of Montreal and Toronto, and those individuals and groups who will accompany them, including the Montreal Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Centre Montreal make themselves complicit with the institutionalized system of segregation which victimizes Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Bedouin of the Negev region.

The City of Montreal must cancel its Economic Mission to Israel

The Mayor of Montreal, Denis Coderre and Toronto Mayor John Tory will visit Israel - and, symbolically, the West Bank - as part of an economic mission from November 13th to November 18th, 2016. In so doing, the mayors of Montreal and Toronto, and those individuals and groups who will accompany them, including the Montreal Chamber of Commerce and the World Trade Centre Montreal make themselves complicit with the institutionalized system of segregation which victimizes Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as the Bedouin of the Negev region.

Israel incessantly expands existing illegal settlements while building new settlements on illegally expropriated Palestinian lands. This is a policy which continues to flout the treaties and conventions of international law which protect human rights and peoples, policy which has defied more than a hundred United Nations resolutions and paints with the epithet of ‘anti-Semites’ all those who dare to criticize Israel’s unacceptable acts of violence against the Palestinian people.

The visit of the mayors to the West Bank - a small symbolic detour - is nothing but smoke and mirrors, the objective of which is to deflect any criticism of their principal mission to Israel. Nowhere is it mentioned that the West Bank is occupied Palestinian territory, colonized and walled-in by Israel. It is a known fact that the economy of the West Bank is practically non-existent by virtue of the fact that Israel has converted the West Bank into an open prison.

What about the situation in Gaza, which has been under blockade for almost nine years and where the living conditions of the population have led the excellent Israeli journalist Amira Hass to call Gaza a "concentration camp"? Are our mayors aware of the deadly Israeli attacks against Palestinian civilians in Gaza in 2009 and 2014? Do they know that Israeli officials selling their arms at military fairs boast that their weapons have been "field- tested", that is to say, " tested" on the Palestinian population in Gaza? The deaths of 2,000 Palestinian civilians, including 500 children, in Gaza in 2014 attest to the "effectiveness" of Israeli armaments.

Recently, 64 public figures, including seven Nobel Prize laureates have called for the establishment of an arms embargo against Israel (http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.606228 ). We bring several questions to the attention of the citizens of Montreal. Will Mayor Coderre sign contracts with Israeli security companies, or for the training of Montreal police forces by Israeli security as was the case for half the police forces serving Ferguson, Missouri? Will Mayor Coderre represent the interests of arms manufacturers in the Montreal area in Israel? What will be the terms and details of trade with his Israeli counterparts be?

In fact, the City of Montreal should maintain no relationship with a state recognized internationally as an apartheid state. The economic mission to Israel is official support for Israeli apartheid. It simply should not happen.

Let us recall that the former Mayor of Montreal, Jean Doré, at the time of the BDS campaign (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) against apartheid in South Africa, had the City of Montreal deemed an "apartheid-free " city and banned trade relations with south African suppliers. Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU) invites Mayor Coderre to follow in the footsteps of Jean Doré by making the City of Montreal an "apartheid-free" city once again. Montreal must annul trade relations with a state that practices an institutionalized system of segregation, which continues to occupy, colonize and wall-in the Palestinian people in violation of international law and which tramples on the rule of law and on basic human rights .

We demand that Mayor Coderre cancel his economic mission to Israel.

Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)

www.pajumontreal.org

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