NDP youth speak out on Gaza: 'It's time to call a spade a spade'

| August 1, 2014
photo credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA

An ocean away from Palestine, Canadians have watched on in absolute horror as the death toll continues to mount. In three short weeks, hundreds of people in Gaza, a majority of them civilians, have been wiped out at the discretion of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

Anger, disbelief, outrage -- we've felt these emotions before. We watched in horror as the U.S. dropped thousands of bombs on Iraq, we marched in the streets to protest NATO's brutal occupation of Afghanistan and we've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine. That is because as a nation we feel the pain of global conflict first hand: through the sacrifice of our own young women and men abroad, and through the incredible resilience of the many refugees fleeing these very conflicts, coming to Canada to seek a more just life.

If we are to live up to the standards of peace and tolerance that we've set for ourselves domestically, on a global scale, it is our responsibility to call for restraint and seek mediation whenever war rears it's ugly head. In our short lifetime we've witnessed the same violent scene repeated time and time again, so we ask: how is this situation any different?

As the next generation, we are destined to inherit incredible political, environmental and logistical challenges. For us, the past 21 days have been deeply disheartening, as we now see that we are also destined to inherit a more violent world. And it isn't only because Stephen Harper has proven himself (yet again) to be incompetent at representing Canada on the world stage but rather, also due to the hesitation from our Official Opposition when it comes to standing up for New Democratic values on this issue.

With respect to the current situation in Gaza, there can be no question: the NDP has been open about its desire to see hostilities cease from both sides in this conflict. Hamas must stop firing rockets indiscriminately at civilians, and so must the IDF.

But on the question of Palestine, let's be clear:

Section 4.1 (f) of the 2013 NDP Policy Book states that the NDP supports "working with partners for peace in Israel and Palestine, respecting UN resolutions and international law, supporting peaceful co­existence in viable, independent states with agreed­upon borders, an end to Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, and an end to violence targeting civilians."

These resolutions include those that call for the withdrawal from occupied territories during the 1967 war [1], the legitimacy of the struggle for liberation from foreign domination by all available means [2], condemnation of governments that don't recognize the right to self determination and independence of peoples under foreign domination[3], and more recently, the upgrade of Palestine to a nonmember state of the United Nations [4].

We demand a fair approach be taken with the situation in Gaza, one that adheres to the above mentioned United Nations resolutions, among many others. As citizens of the world we owe it to each other to admit that no state can ever achieve security through force of arms. If terror groups are to be rendered irrelevant, and the growth of extremism stemmed, then we must address the root cause of the violence, not its symptoms.

It is time for Canadians to know where the NDP stands on this issue: as the only party that seeks a comprehensive and viable solution on agreed upon borders, that guarantees the security of both Israeli and Palestinian citizens to co-­exist in peace.

That is why New Democrats should never shy away from condemning the slaughter of civilians, no matter where it happens, or who perpetrates the act. That is why we agree with independent groups like Jewish Voices for Peace, who have called for an end to the bombing of Gaza, and for Israel to be held accountable for its actions [5].

We must further acknowledge that in the almost 20 years since the Oslo Peace Accords, the situation on the ground in Palestine has deteriorated so badly that it is nearly impossible to imagine a contiguous two­state solution based on the 1967 borders­ at least without serious land concessions from existing settlements.

Our government's inaction and paralysis on the world stage is our shame to wear. By providing unflinching political cover for the Israeli state, we enable a situation where it is likely that much of the West Bank [6] will be annexed, and the erosion of Palestinian lands that started so many years ago will be complete.

That is, unless we finally elect a government that believes that upholding human rights and working to create lasting peace should be primary goals of a just foreign policy.

New Democratic Youth of Canada

 

Sources:

[1] United Nations Security Council Resolution S/RES/242 22 Nov 1967

[2] United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/3246 (XXIX) 29 Nov 1974

[3] United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 29 Nov 1978

[4] United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/67/19 4 Dec 2012

[5] Jewish Voices for Peace: End the Bombing. Hold Israel Accountable July 2014

[6] The West Bank was divided into areas A, B, and C during the Oslo II accords. Area C has been under Israeli civil and military control. It accounts for a majority of the territory of the West Bank Map of Area C, Retrieved from NPR.org "Palestinians fear new Israeli moves in West Bank" 30 Jul 2012

photo credit: Mohammed Saber/EPA

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Comments

"We watched in horror as the U.S. dropped thousands of bombs on Iraq, we marched in the streets to protest NATO's brutal occupation of Afghanistan and we've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine."

I believe you are very much mistaken, Russia has not invaded Ukraine. According to the rabble forums, Russia is a peace loving nation protecting ethnic Russians in Ukraine against western domination and cruelty. 

Even when they try to do the right thing NDP youth shoot themselves in the foot. It is clear that these well meaning but misinformed or uninformed young people have relied far too much on a handful of Western corporate news sources or the imperial Obama regime for all their news on the Ukraine. Russia is not in the Eastern Ukraine but perhaps they should be. Putin protected Russia's interests in Crimea with the enthusiastic support of the vast majority of Crimeans but he has left Russian speaking civilan populations in the easrern and southern Ukraine at the mercy of the Ukrainian military and fascist paramilitary thugs. Suggest these young people educate themselves with regard to atrocities civilians have been exposed to in Ukraine. Start with what happened in Odessa where unarmed protesters were burned alive or suffered similar fates. 

I was very disapointed with Mulcair's white glove treatment of Crooked Harper since Mulcair took over.

 

What is wrong calling out Harper and the crooked Cons for being undemocratic thieves?

And now with Mulcair backing of Harper's stance with Mulcair's golden silence...crickets...

 

In 2015...to help contribute to saving of what is left of Canada...I will pinch my nose and vote Liberal.....NDP, please wake up and get serious before you lose too many members.

"we marched in the streets to protest NATO's brutal occupation of Afghanistan and we've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine" Are you Thomas Mulcair?!!

That's propaganda. It's serious and vile and disgusting. I won't read further.

john r bell: It would be so easy to push a ton of information at these young people. But I can't believe they are that uninformed. There's something else going on here. I'd steer clear of this bunch.

Webgear: I wouldn't call Putin 'peace loving'. As for Russia, How supportive are they of dirty deeds of the Russian state? But it's beside the point. In this situation, Russia - the state - is innocent. And I never thought I'd say it, but Russia needs our support as the West, essentially, attacks it.

"... we've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine."  Really?  Speak for yourselves.  At best, this is extremely uninformed...the US propaganda machine couldn't have worded it better.

"... we've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine."  Really?  Speak for yourselves.  At best, this is extremely uninformed...the US propaganda machine couldn't have worded it better.

Here's a solution. When the next federal election comes around  boycott the NDP campaign. Don't move a muscle or raise a nickel for the cause. If you do, then Mulcair and others like him will simply let you kvetch - complain - and take you for granted. In politics, if you want change, be ready to hurt the ones you love.

Delighted that NDP Youth have begun to sort of get it on Gaza. Clearly they still have a ways to go on Ukraine: 'We've reacted with vile disgust at Russia's cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine'.

Stop listening to Harper, Trudeau, Tom Mulcair, or MSM media -  use your own minds and read Babble's  'Ukraine' thread' - see if you don't change your mind...

I have supported the NDP for 45 years. I have voted for the NDP for nearly every election either Federal or Provincial during those 45 years. Now I am seriously considering looking for someone else to support. It will not be an easy dicission to take but I am saddened and dicussed by the lack of action by my party. 

Ukraine isn't hard to understand. It's a state Russia considers part of its sphere of influence. Russia is doing what the U.S. has done to the likes of Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, etc. Remember the so-call "Freedom Fighters" Reagan used against the Sandinistas? The Ukrainians have the history and the suffering to prove what being in the Russian sphere of influence is like. That's not to say Ukraine should be in NATO. That would be  a direct threat to Russia, which was justified in snatching the Crimea because it's home to a naval base that gives the Russians a doorway to the Middle East. But Ukraine has, like Finland, the right to decide if it wants to be part of the EU. 

Yes, well, surely Webgear's being sarcastic on Russia. Or not. I can't tell, but what this declaration says about Russia and Ukraine is reckless at best.

And when this statement suggests clarity, it doesn't deliver. How about, "Israel is acting as a rogue state. It is defying the United Nations and international law and is guilty of war crimes up to and including possible genocide. In these actions, we in Canada have been complicit and must change course. International action is needed, beginning with an arms embargo, to force Israel to stop the attacks and fulfil its legal obligations, which include the duty to protect residents of all occupied territories and to assist them in taking control of their own destiny"?

Wonderful for standing up to Mulcair & gang re Israeli massacre in Gaza, Occupied Palestine, but why the appalling and false statement re Russia, referring to a "cruel and bloody invasion of Ukraine". Did they get permission to speak out on Palestine only if they lied about Russia?  Russia did NOT invade the Ukraine!

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