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MESSAGE from the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine

As the year 2005 ends, twenty groups that are members of theCoalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine (CJPP), are launching a Quebec campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions, to force Israel to respect international law.  This message briefly outlines the campaign and invites you to start taking action towards this goal immediately, during the various social and family gatherings that will mark the coming ‘Holiday Season’.

In the press release that was sent out to launch the campaign, the spokespersons for the coalition stated: “We must stop believing in the false pronouncements of peace of the Israeli State and in the roadmap of its US sponsor.  Because, in practise, under the cover of the hyper-showcased Gaza ‘disengagement’, Israel is moving ahead with a much more significant expansion of its settlements in the West Bank, and continues the illegal construction of its apartheid wall, gradually reducing the occupied Palestinian territories into a disconnected patchwork of mini-bantoustans.”

It is because of this situation, and because of the international community’s inaction when faced with Israel’s refusal to comply with international law, that the CJPP is launching its new campaign. The coalition is thus answering the international call for boycotts, divestment, and sanctions issued by more than 170 organisations of Palestinian civil society in July 2005. The recent changes in Canada’s public positions, more plainly pro-Israeli and duplicating US positions, also requires that civil society in Quebec and Canada disavow these positions and take up concrete and sustained actions in solidarity with the Palestinian people.

We are entering this campaign for the long haul.  Gradually, it will cover, (i) the boycott of Israeli products and of the products of companies that are contributing to the continued occupation, (ii) the retrieval of investments out of these companies, and (iii) the imposition of sanctions against the Israeli State, starting with questioning the Canada-Israel free trade agreement.  The targets initially identified by the CJPP, for the first phase of this campaign, are Caterpillar – an international campaign is already underway around this company – and the Israeli wines on sale at the SAQ.

On this last point, the Coalition for Justice and Peace in Palestine finds it totally outrageous that the SAQ is offering wines coming from the Syrian Golan, a territory illegally occupied and annexed by Israel.  The first concrete gesture that we are inviting you to make within the framework of this campaign is thus the following: print and sign the attached petition; and have it signed around at the various family and social gatherings that you will be participating in during the coming Holidays.

To learn more about the reasons behind the choice of the initial targets of this campaign and about what you can do as practical contributions, please visit the CJPP website (www.cjpp.org, under construction, so please be patient… thanks!).  Among other things that you will already find there: the call from Palestinian civil society, the pamphlet of this campaign, an “alternative report” on Caterpillar, etc.

In the coming weeks and months, the coalition will call people to get involved in specific actions to build the campaign and broaden its application. We really hope to see large numbers participating in these actions, combining our efforts with those of similar campaigns elsewhere around the world, and doing our share so that the new year 2006 can (at last!) be a year of improvement for the Palestinians’ position.

We end this message with a list of the groups that have already decided to commit to this campaign:

  • Alternative Perspective Media
  • Alternatives
  • Les Artistes pour la Paix
  • Association québécoise des organismes de coopération internationale (AQOCI)
  • Canadian Muslim Forum
  • Canadian-Palestinian Foundation of Quebec
  • Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
  • Coalition Against the Deportation of Palestinian Refugees
  • Entraide missionnaire
  • Fédération des femmes du Québec
  • Fédération nationale des enseignantes et des enseignants du Québec (FNEEQ-CSN)
  • International Solidarity Movement—Montreal (ISM)
  • Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation
  • OCVC (Objection de conscience/Voices of Conscience)
  • Option citoyenne
  • Palestinian and Jewish Unity (PAJU)
  • Parole Arabe
  • Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights (SPHR/SDHP)
  • SUCO
  • Union des forces progressistes (UFP)

IN SOLIDARITY !

Rezeq Faraj