Justin Trudeau buys drones “tested” on Palestinians
By Ali Abunimah
Canada has an anti-Palestinian record second to none. But recent moves suggest the government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is escalating its enmity towards the Palestinian people. There was Trudeau’s decision in November to appoint Irwin Cotler, a prominent Israel lobbyist, as special envoy on anti-Semitism.
Cotler is tasked with implementing the so-called IHRA definition of anti-Semitism – a document promoted by Israel and its lobby as a tool to censor and smear supporters of Palestinian rights by falsely tarring them as anti-Jewish bigots.
The following month, Trudeau’s government placed itself in a tiny minority, along with fellow settler-colonial states Israel, the US and Australia, to vote against UN resolutions reaffirming fundamental Palestinian rights.
And in recent days, Canada lined up again with the US and Australia to condemn the ruling by the International Criminal Court clearing the way for war crimes investigations of Israeli leaders. This anti-Palestinian extremism belies Trudeau’s fluffy image as woke hipster who supports LGBTQ rights and multiculturalism.
But it is entirely in keeping with Canada’s ongoing mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples on whose land it sits – in spite of Trudeau’s rhetorical commitment to “reconciliation” with First Nations.
Now the Trudeau government is purchasing a “civilian” version of the Hermes 900 drone made by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems. The deal announced in December by Canada’s transport ministry is worth $28 million.
As Israeli media reported, the Hermes 900 was first “tested” by Israel during its 2014 assault on Gaza. Israel killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children during that assault, in attacks that frequently obliterated entire families.
A major weapons supplier to the Israeli military, Elbit was deeply involved in, and reaped huge profits from, that attack on Gaza.
Canada is greenwashing the purchase from Elbit by claiming the drones will be used for surveillance of the Arctic region, including “to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats.” This purchase, the Trudeau government claims, will help “to keep our waters clean and safe.”
In fact, what it will do is put money into the hands of Israel’s blood-soaked arms industry, effectively rewarding it for perpetrating war crimes whose investigation and prosecution Trudeau opposes.
Indeed, while the Trudeau government claims to be a global champion of human rights, it has massively expanded its arms trade with Saudi Arabia, despite that country’s brutal war on Yemen. Last month, activists protested the Trudeau policy by blocking the entrance of a Hamilton, Ontario, factory that ships weapons to the Saudis.
And now Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, an advocacy group, is urging Canadians to write the Trudeau government opposing the Elbit deal.
“Through this purchase, Canada directly supports the profits of a weapons company responsible for ongoing human rights violations against Palestinians,” CJPME says in an action alert.
As CJPME notes in a useful backgrounder, Elbit brags that the “civilian” drones Trudeau’s government is purchasing draw on the “legacy” of its killer drones used on Palestinians.
Perhaps sensitive to how unpopular its anti-Palestinian policies are with ordinary Canadians, the Trudeau government falsely portrays itself as a friend of Palestinians.
Through its diplomatic office in Ramallah, Canada purports to support the “empowerment” of Palestinian women. And a Canadian general has been making the rounds among Palestinian officials, offering “cooperation”:
Development Officer, Dr. Khaled Rajab, visited the Mehwar Center for Protection and Empowerment of Women in #Beit_Sahour and met with the Director of the Center, Mrs. Saeda Al-Atrash. Support for the center is provided through the funded Haya project.
No one should be fooled by this.
Canada is no friend if it seeks to obstruct justice at the International Criminal Court, votes against Palestinian rights at the UN, smears human rights advocates as anti-Semites and makes deals with Israeli arms companies that profit from killing Palestinians.
Adapted from: https://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/justin-trudeau-buys-drones-tested-palestinians
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