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PAJU (Palestinian and Jewish Unity)

Press Release for immediate publication

Montreal, May 18th, 2021

Once again, the Trudeau government has issued its stock response to the violence in the Middle East, one which is full of the usual contradictions. The statement, which follows a meeting by the members of the UN Security Council, states:” “Canada reiterates the fundamental importance of protecting journalists and press freedom. Journalists and media workers are the cornerstone of any fair, strong and vibrant society and must be free to do their work without fear.”

The statement carefully avoids any mention of the fact that Israel deliberately destroyed the building housing Al Jazeera and Associated Press offices and journalists so as to diminish coverage of what amounts to its current war crimes to go along with a long list of other war crimes committed against the Palestinian people. The building also housed some 6o Palestinian families who are now homeless and were give one hours to collect whatever belongings they could carry with them before the building was destroyed.

What is more, this is only the latest attack by Israel against journalists covering the situation in occupied Palestine. The practice of shooting at journalists even when the latter are wearing easily identifiable press jackets has been going on for years. As many as 17 journalists have been killed by Israeli soldiers and not once has the Trudeau government denounced the situation.

While stating that: “The continued indiscriminate barrage of rocket attacks fired by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad into Israel against civilians is completely unacceptable and must cease immediately. Those foreign entities which support Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad must end their material and financial support to these groups. . .,” the Trudeau government statement makes no mention of the provocation on the part of fanatical Jewish settlers and Israeli police attacking peaceful Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa compound during the period of Ramadan. The reference to the forced eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Harrah is but cursory. No mention of fascist Jewish Kahanist enacting a pogrom against Palestinians in Jerusalem including lynching while roaming through the streets chanting “Death to Arabs!”

No reference to the disproportionate level of Israel’s attacks against Gaza as compared to the damage and deaths caused by Hamas rockets. No mention of the hundreds of strikes by Israel’s air force against Gaza’s civilian population which now numbers several hundred deaths including the deaths of 61children with more than 1, 500 injured. The bombing of Gaza, as was the case in 2014, is quite simply a massacre!

No mention whatsoever of the illegal blockade of Gaza which has lasted 14 years, a crime in itself. Just the usual political rhetoric based on the entirely false notion of an independent and viable Palestinian state. Israel made that an impossibility years ago:

“Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel. We will always stand ready to support efforts for a two-state solution.

The real, inconvenient truth of the situation in Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem (where a vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing is taking place) is summed up succinctly in the following extract from an article in The Intercept:

The U.S.-backed, armed, and funded extreme right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu is currently engaged in a systemic collective punishment campaign against the people of Gaza. More than two million of them are trapped in an open-air prison camp with nowhere to run or hide from this scorched earth operation. Children are being slaughtered. Civilian residential buildings are being razed to the ground. Meanwhile ethno-nationalist militias are rampaging through the streets of Israel and terrorizing their Arab neighbors in a campaign of organized mob violence. We must be clear: what started this immediate horror was the intensification of Israel’s ethnic-cleansing campaign against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, forcibly evicting people from their homes to hand them over to Israeli settlers. The incendiary situation was then exacerbated during a Ramadan siege by Israeli forces at one of the holiest sites in Islam, the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Canada’s votes on Palestine-Israel at the UN are predictable, systematic and entrenched in favor of Israeli impunity and against basic Palestinian rights. Let it be noted that in the first 18 months of taking power, the Trudeau government voted against 16 U.N. resolutions criticizing Israel.

On November 24, 2015, the Trudeau government even voted against UN General Assembly resolution 70/15, which reaffirmed “the illegality of Israeli settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.” The vote even went against Canada’s stated stance on illegal Jewish settlements.

On November 30, 2018, Canada joined a tiny minority of states, including Israel, the United States, Australia and the Marshall Islands in voting “no” against a United Nations General Assembly resolution entitled “Peaceful Settlement on the Question of Palestine.”

On May 6 2021, the Trudeau government announced that it was boycotting the 20th year commemoration of a United Nations anti-racism conference in South Africa, citing the event’s legacy of criticizing Israel. The Trudeau government spokesperson stated the following:

“Canada remains committed, at home and abroad, including at the UN, to advancing human rights, inclusion and combatting antisemitism, islamophobia and systemic racism in all its forms. Canada opposes initiatives at the United Nations and in other multilateral forums that unfairly single out and target Israel for criticism,” said the spokesperson.

It is the stock, redundant and cynical response that the Trudeau government gives whenever it is a question of criticizing Israel over its human rights abuses. It is ironic that Trudeau et al, who continually crow about Canadian exceptionalism, about its stance against antisemitism and islamophobia actively promote both of these ills: first and foremost, by supporting unconditionally Israel’s apartheid regime which destroys Palestinian property and lives in the name of world Jewry (a  particularly odious policy), the Trudeau government helps ensure the rise of anti-Jewish sentiment on an international scale; its failure to condemn the attacks of Jewish zealots against Muslim worshippers at the Al Aqsa mosque during Ramadan is proof positive of the fact that the Trudeau government lends tacit support to islamophobia!

 It should be clear enough to any rational observer that Canadian foreign policy concerning the Middle East is directed from Washington (and Tel Aviv) and is unquestionably anti-Palestinian. What is more, it makes the government of Canada complicit in those crimes committed by Israel against both Palestinians and Bedouin.

The fact is that the Trudeau government, perhaps more so than the previous Harper government, is complicit in crimes committed by the State of Israel against Palestinians and Bedouin. Under international law as amended by the Rome Statute which created the International Criminal Court, apartheid is a crime against humanity. Canada is a signatory to the Rome Statute.

There is no statute of limitations for war crimes or crimes against humanity. Hence, charges could be brought against those individuals who have aided and abetted Israel’s crimes in due course.

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For information:

Chadi Marouf, Co-president PAJU

Bruce Katz, Co-president PAJU

kab1@videotron.ca