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Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement pour une Paix Juste

75+ Organizations call to Canadian Government

 In Campaigns

75+ organizations join in message to new Canadian government on International Day of

Solidarity with the Palestinian people

International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People 2019

November 29, 2019

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau

One year ago, in November 2018, over 100 Canadian groups including human rights, international justice, civil society, faith groups and other civil society organizations brought to your attention Al-Haq’s  Gaza 20/20 campaign.  This campaign is internationally focused on bringing consciousness to the grave situation for Palestinians in Gaza and specifically urges governments to call the Israeli government to account.  In Canada, Just Peace Advocates partnered with Al Haq to bring this message to the Canadian government to pursue accountability through both international and domestic law.

This campaign was inspired after a 2017 UN report warned that Gaza is expected to be uninhabitable by 2020.  In this deeply worrying report,  the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities noted that Gaza’s trajectory of “de-development” has accelerated. For the nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s persecution and collective punishment had already made life there unbearable.

We write to you again this year, reminding you that the imposed land, sea and air blockade on Gaza now in its twelfth year severely restricts imports and exports, the movement of people in and out of Gaza, access to adequate healthcare, education, and livelihoods including agricultural land and fishing, with the economy being close to a collapse. During 2018, restrictions of movement of humanitarian staff have been particularly tightened. The blockade for the Palestinians of Gaza is a denial of basic human rights and amounts to collective punishment .

There have been over 200 Palestinians killed and approximately 34,000 injuries since March 2018 by Israel in violation of International Humanitarian Law including through the unlawful use of live ammunition by Israeli snipers; this further strained the healthcare system with it being overwhelmed almost to the point of collapse.

The education system in Gaza is severely strained due to the withholding of UNRWA funds by the USA and other states, and yet on November 15, 2019, Canada stepped out of line from the international community, and abstained from the United Nations General Assembly resolution to renew UNRWA’s Mandate for five years until 2023.The vote passed 170-2 with only Israel and the USA voting against the resolution, and Canada was one of seven countries that abstained.  This is shameful, and shows that Canada indeed cannot be serious about its bid for the 2020 selection of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) seat.

Ongoing military airstrikes have occurred during the years since the last full out attack in 2014 by Israel on the Palestinians of Gaza, and this has escalated again during the week of November 11 with many deaths and injuries and destroyed infrastructure.  Your twitter response in support of Israel is shameful. We call on you to take seriously the violations of international law, and the Canadian government’s responsibility under its international obligations and its own domestic law.

International Law: Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all High Contracting Parties  (which includes Canada), are required to take action to ensure respect for the Convention “in all circumstances.”

Domestic Law: Under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Canadian government can impose sanctions when “gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in a foreign state.”

On October 23, 2019, University of Western Ontario law professor Michael Lynk said in his presentation to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territory that “United Nations reports have stated that war crimes may have been committed by Israel during its various military operations in Gaza, [and] multiple and systematic human rights violations have been credibly documented by the United Nations and by international, Israeli and Palestinian human rights defenders.”  The Special Rapporteur reminded the UNGA that he had “determined previously that the occupation itself has become illegal, given its flagrant violations of the foundational principles of the modern laws of occupation.”

Professor Lynk stressed that now it is time for the international community to hold Israel accountable, and that “scholars have identified three principal purposes of countermeasures and sanctions: (i) to coerce a change in the targeted state’s or organization’s behaviour; (ii) to constrain a targeted state or organization from engaging in a prohibited activity; and (iii) to signal and/or stigmatize a targeted state or organization regarding its violations of international laws or norms.”  It seems Canadians would agree, as a 2017 EKOS poll indicated that two-thirds of Canadians indicated support for sanctions on Israel.

We ask you to heed the words of UN Special Rapporteur Michael Lynk and to remember Canada has accountability. 

Canada has responsibility under both international and domestic law to hold Israel accountable; and so we write to you with urgency, calling Canada to take leadership both in placing economic sanctions and a military embargo on Israel until at least the blockade is lifted for the people of Gaza.  This call follows the recommendation made by Michael Lynk to the UNGA that “in line with Common Article 1 of the Geneva Conventions, the Articles of Responsibility of States and Article 25 of the Charter of the United Nations” that all measures necessary be taken “including countermeasures and sanctions, to ensure respect by Israel, and all other relevant parties, of their obligations under international law to end the occupation.”

As civil society organizations, we come together to call the Canadian government to take all possible action to address this mounting human rights and humanitarian crisis under relevant Canadian laws, including the Special Economic Measures Act, and specifically to live up to our country’s responsibilities under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.  

As a minimum, we call on the Canadian government to:

  • publicly condemn Israeli security operations in Gaza and demand an end to all breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
  • insist through the implementation of sanctions that Israel end its blockade of Gaza;
  • implement an arms embargo, and press for a comprehensive arms embargo at the level of the UN Security Council;
  • vote at the UNGA in alignment with the majority of the international community taking a stance in line with international law and human rights for Palestinians, recognizing this is important also in seeking a seat on the UNSC; and
  • impose a ban on all goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory entering Canada as well as a ban on Canadian companies operating in illegal settlements or trading in settlement goods. 

Copied:

 François-Philippe Champagne, Global Affairs Minister

Jagmeet Singh, Leader of the NDP

Jo-Ann Roberts, Green Party of Canada

Yves-François Blanchet, Leader of the Bloc Québécois

Andrew Scheer, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada

Deborah Lyons, Canadian Ambassador to Israel

Robin Wettlaufer, Canadian Representative in Ramallah

 

Signed by the following human rights, civic society, faith, labour, student and other groups.

Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste

Al Haq

Canadian Union of Postal Workers – Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses des postes

Canadian Arab Federation

Palestinian Canadian Congress

Canada Palestine Association-Vancouver

Palestinian Canadian Community Centre – Palestine House

Independent Jewish Voices Canada (IJV)/Voix juives indépendantes Canada (VJI)

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Boycott from Within (Israeli citizens for BDS)
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights, Queen’s University

De-Colonizer, research and art laboratory for social change, Palestine – Israel

Palestine Just Trade

Alliance of Concerned Jewish Canadians, Alliance de Canadien-nes juives-fs concerné-es (ACJC)

Camp Micah: Leadership for Peace and Justice and

Educators for Justice – Waterloo Catholic School Board

Palestinian and Jewish Unity

Toronto Solidarity With Palestine

Socialist Project

Independent Jewish Voices Victoria

Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network

International League of Peoples’ Struggle in Canada (ILPS-Canada)

Science for Peace

Regina Peace Council

Holy Land Trust, Bethlehem

Ontario Coalition Against Poverty (OCAP)

No More Silence

Al-Haadi Musalla

Al Quds Committee

Canadian Unitarians for Social Justice

Idle No More Toronto

OPIRG-Guelph

Independent Jewish Voices-Winnipeg

Victoria Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid
Oakville Palestinian Rights Association (OPRA)
Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights – SPHR Concordia
Canadian Peace Congress

mouvement québécois pour la paix/ quebec movement for peace

Peaceworks, Midland

Catholics for Justice and Peace in the Holy Land, CJPHL

The Canadian Palestinian Foundation of Quebec

Pax Christi Toronto

Jewish Liberation Theology Institute

Food Not Bombs Peterborough
Educators for Peace and Justice
Canadian Friends of Sabeel

Ontario Public Interest Research Group – Carleton

Justice for Palestinians Calgary

Nonviolence International Canada

Council of Canadians, Peterborough and Kawarthas chapter

Vegans for BDS Canada.

Sudbury Palestine Solidarity Working Group

Canada Palestine Support Network (CanPalNet), Vancouver

SPHR Dawson College

Council of Canadians, Montreal Chapter

Laurier Students’ Public Interest Research Group

Communist Party of Canada – Parkdale Club, Toronto

Canadian Boat to Gaza

JOURNEY Magazine Peterborough

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 3903

Solidarité Québec-Haïti

Toronto Chapter of the Council of Canadians

Kamloops Chapter of the Council of Canadians

Powell River Chapter of the Council of Canadians
Canadian Friends Service Committee (CFSC)
The Canadian BDS Coalition

London Chapter of the Council of Canadians

McGill Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights

The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle

People for Peace-London

Mid-Islanders for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

Palestine Solidarity Network – Edmonton

United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI)

Barnard-Boecker Centre Foundation (BBCF)

The Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario/Fédération canadienne des étudiantes et étudiants-l’Ontario

St. John’s Solidarity With Palestine

Stop Climate Change Party

Faculty for Palestine (Canada)

Council of Canadians, Halton Chapter

Former Eccumenical Accompaniers to Palestine (EAPPI)

Peace Alliance Winnipeg

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