Canada’s despicable role in opposing Palestinian human rights

Canada is playing games unworthy of any country which claims to stand for rights. For the past 20 years Canada’s voting record on Palestinian issues has moved consistently in a direction which defends Israel’s violation of its duties as an occupying power | YI NICHOLLS

February 1, 2020. Montreal demonstration stands with Palestinian people against U.S. so-called Deal of the Century.

On November 19, Canada voted along with 162 other countries in favour of a draft UN resolution affirming the Palestinian right to self-determination. The resolution emphasized “the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine” and “stressed the urgency of achieving without delay an end to the Israeli occupation that began in 1967 and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement between the Palestinian and Israeli sides,” based on a two-state solution.

The resolution passed 163 to five with 10 abstentions. In addition to Israel and the U.S., the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Nauru also voted against the resolution. Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Rwanda, Togo and Tonga all abstained.

In previous years Canada voted with Israel against the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination but for the second straight year,  prompted by the U.S. Secretary of State’s decision last year to reverse the position of the State Department’s legal opinion that deemed Israeli settlements to be illegal, it voted for the resolution. At the same time, it voted against 15 other resolutions affirming Palestinian rights, all raising substantial issues which relate to the implementation of the first resolution.

Canada is playing games unworthy of any country which claims to stand for rights. In fact, for the past 20 years Canada’s voting record on Palestinian issues has moved consistently in a direction which defends Israel’s violation of its duties as an occupying power. This trend coincided with then Prime Minister Paul Martin’s appointment of the Zionist Irwin Cotler as Minister of Justice. This was followed by the adoption of extremist Zionist positions by the Harper government, which the Trudeau Liberals are continuing to implement. Trudeau’s appointment of the self-avowed Zionist, Bob Rae, as Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations is par for the course and also reveals the path Canada has chosen in international affairs, to take up every reactionary counterrevolutionary cause which pushes the U.S. as so-called indispensable nation while claiming to be humanitarian and the greatest defender of peace, democracy and rights.

This past week the Trudeau Government named Irwin Cotler as Canada’s “Special Envoy on Preserving Holocaust Remembrance and Combatting Anti-Semitism.” It is well known that Cotler has been advocating internationally on behalf of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance whose definition of the “new anti-Semitism” labels any criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. To reward with this appointment the despicable activities of Cotler and his attacks on the struggles of the Palestinian people and their supporters around the world for basic human rights is a clear indication that the pretense of the Trudeau Liberals of being on the side of human rights and freedom in defence of the Palestinian people is hollow.

The vote on the resolution affirming Palestine’s right to self-determination took place on the UN’s Third Committee which, each year, considers a package of 16 resolutions on important issues facing the Palestinian people. The resolutions, listed below, now go to the UN General Assembly for debate and vote in plenary session in December. Click on the abbreviated titles below to see more detailed information.

1. Natural Resources: ”Permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources”

In brief: Brings attention to the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and of the population of the occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources, including land, water and energy resources, and demands that Israel stops damaging or exploiting those resources.

2. Self-Determination: ”The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination”

In brief: Reaffirms the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, including the right to their independent State of Palestine.

3. Assistance: ”Assistance to the Palestinian people”

In brief: Calls on the international community to increase humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians.

4. Israeli Practices: ”Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem”

In brief: Demands that Israel stops violating international law in the occupied territories, and calls for international protection of the Palestinian civilian population.

5. Settlements: ”Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan”

In brief: Reaffirms that Israeli settlements are illegal and an obstacle to peace, and urges UN member states to distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between Israel proper and its settlements.

6. Applicability Geneva: ”Applicability of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of August 12, 1949, to the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the other occupied Arab territories”

In brief: Reaffirms that the Geneva Convention is applicable to Israel’s occupation, and urges Israel to comply with the provisions of international law.

7. Special Committee: ”Work of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories”

In brief: Tells the UN’s “Special Committee” on this issue to continue to investigate Israeli policies and practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

8. Refugees’ Properties: ”Palestine refugees’ properties and their revenues”

In brief: Reaffirms that Palestinian refugees are entitled to their property, and asks the UN to protect Arab assets and property rights in Israel.

9. UNRWA: ”Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East” (UNRWA)

In brief: Recognizes the work of the UNRWA, which is the agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, and urges the international community to support it.

10. Displaced Persons 1967: ”Persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities”

In brief: Reaffirms the right of all persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities to return to their homes or former places of residence in the territories occupied by Israel since 1967.

11. UNRWA Assistance: ”Assistance to Palestine refugees”

In brief: Extends the mandate of the UNRWA.

12. Occupation of East Jerusalem: ”Jerusalem”

In brief: Condemns Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem as illegal, calls for a just and lasting solution that takes into account the legitimate concerns of both Israelis and Palestinians, and calls on all parties to respect the historic status quo in regard to holy places.

13. Peaceful Settlement: ”Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine”

In brief: Calls for a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, calls for Israel to withdraw from the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, and urges the international community not to recognize any unilateral changes to the pre-1967 borders.

14. DPI Info Program: ”Special information program on the question of Palestine of the Department of Global Communications of the Secretariat”

In brief: Extends the mandate of the “special information program on the question of Palestine,” which is undertaken by the UN Secretariat’s Department of Global Communications (formerly the Department of Public Information (DPI)). Under this program, the department collects, archives, and distributes extensive information about Palestine, including related UN activities.

15. DPR: ”Division for Palestinian Rights of the Secretariat”

In brief: Renews the mandate of the UN Secretariat’s Division for Palestinian Rights, which monitors developments in Palestine, organizes meetings and events, and maintains the United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL).

16. CEIRPP: ”Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People”

In brief: Renews the mandate of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. The committee was established in 1975, and has a mandate to promote the realization of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people. It organizes meetings and events and has a variety of information and training programs.

To see the UN Dashboard on Canada’s voting history, click here

(Photos: TML)

TML Weekly, December 5, 2020 – No. 47

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