Greetings, Hon PM Trudeau,
I am very excited that you are the new PM for our amazing nation. I know that you, as per your tweet denouncing the peaceful BDS movement, and the Liberals have a reputation for supporting the occupation of Palestine; however, I am hoping your future actions as our leader will take us in a more ethically sound direction.
Your choice of Stéphane Dion as Foreign Affairs minister is reason for optimism as he has been balanced and objective in the past; his work as Opposition Leader was exceptional as harper supported Israeli attacks on Lebanon. Please allow me to share some facts with you so you can be in a better position to choose a pro or an anti-occupation stance for Canada regarding Palestine. Let us consider UN resolutions, international law and recent events in the region to better educate ourselves.
The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. As such, the occupation is illegal and Israel is in violation of a war crime by creating illegal settlements and failing to care for those whom they occupy. This is international law and is not in debate. Please review for yourself the following UN Resolutions in the links below:
ARTICLE 47 [ Link ]
Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.
Marc Garneau as a Foreign Affairs critic, in contrast to Dion, supported Harper and the Conservatives, you also have publically and staunchly spoken in favour of the occupational forces. Those in favour of the occupation blame the occupied people and state the Israelis have the right to defend themselves by any means necessary. While absolutely all people have the right to defend themselves this is an inalienable right; however, one does not have the legal right to defend an illegal occupation.
Furthermore, Canada should, rather, speak of the Palestinian right to live un-occupied and in peace from Israeli shelling. In fact, over 2,200 Palestinians were killed by Israel in the latest conflict (July of 2014). Civilian deaths of Palestinian origin are discounted by Pro-occupationists for some unknown reason. The rhetoric focuses on the “right to defend” without considering the right to resist occupation. Ideally, neither side would attack one another. However, Palestinian attempts to peacefully oppose occupation are also thwarted by Conservatives -decisions supported by Liberals- by voting against Palestine in U.N. motions.
In fact, Canada should act to bring peace to Israel. We have a profound connection with this nation and we were instrumental in her conception and creation. It is logical to assume that any government illegally occupying and oppressing another group of people is acting against securing peace for itself. Canada should seek to end the occupation to ensure peace of Israel. Acting to assist the occupation to continue and to strengthen it does no one in Israel any favours in fact it tragically puts innocent Israeli lives in danger. The recent-and horrific- stabbings are an example of this very real risk to innocent Israeli civilians.
The USA, the UK and Canada consistently block all motions to support Palestine through the United Nations. The purpose of the U N is to resolve matters, like this issue, peacefully and through dialogue and compromise. Consistently defeating motions against Palestine does the world a disservice. I hope the new Liberal government, and your voice, will speak for Palestine and scream to end the occupation and create an immediate Palestinian state. Will you do that, Hon PM Trudeau?
Here are five, far more could be used, reasons as to why Canada should not support the occupation and act to establish an immediate Palestinian state. These war crimes have been confirmed by the latest UN report and previous reports. Please review the following five examples of U N documented war crimes committed by Israel, the nation so many Canadian leaders so vehemently support.
1) Goldstone Report
6. Indiscriminate attacks by Israeli forces resulting in the loss of life and injury to civilians
41. The Mission examined the mortar shelling of al-Fakhura junction in Jabaliyah next to a UNRWA school, which, at the time, was sheltering more than 1,300 people (chap. X). The Israeli armed forces launched at least four mortar shells. One landed in the courtyard of a family home, killing 11 people assembled there. Three other shells landed on al-Fakhura Street, killing at least a further 24 people and injuring as many as 40. The Mission examined in detail statements by Israeli Government representatives alleging that the attack was launched in response to a mortar attack from an armed Palestinian group. While the Mission does not exclude that this may have been the case, it considers the credibility of Israel’s position damaged by the series of inconsistencies, contradictions and factual inaccuracies in the statements justifying the attack. A/HRC/12/48 page 20 42. In drawing its legal conclusions on the attack on al-Fakhura junction, the Mission recognizes that, for all armies, decisions on proportionality, weighing the military advantage to be gained against the risk of killing civilians, will present very genuine dilemmas in certain cases. The Mission does not consider this to be such a case. The firing of at least four mortar shells to attempt to kill a small number of specified individuals in a setting where large numbers of civilians were going about their daily business and 1,368 people were sheltering nearby cannot meet the test of what a reasonable commander would have determined to be an acceptable loss of civilian life for the military advantage sought. The Mission thus considers the attack to have been indiscriminate, in violation of international law, and to have violated the right to life of the Palestinian civilians killed in these incidents.
7. Deliberate attacks against the civilian population 43. The Mission investigated 11 incidents in which the Israeli armed forces launched direct attacks against civilians with lethal outcome (chap. XI). The facts in all bar one of the attacks indicate no justifiable military objective. The first two are attacks on houses in the al-Samouni neighbourhood south of Gaza City, including the shelling of a house in which Palestinian civilians had been forced to assemble by the Israeli armed forces. The following group of seven incidents concern the shooting of civilians while they were trying to leave their homes to walk to a safer place, waving white flags and, in some of the cases, following an injunction from the Israeli forces to do so. The facts gathered by the Mission indicate that all the attacks occurred under circumstances in which the Israeli armed forces were in control of the area and had previously entered into contact with or had at least observed the persons they subsequently attacked, so that they must have been aware of their civilian status. In the majority of these incidents, the consequences of the Israeli attacks against civilians were aggravated by their subsequent refusal to allow the evacuation of the wounded or to permit access to ambulances.
44. These incidents indicate that the instructions given to the Israeli armed forces moving into Gaza provided for a low threshold for the use of lethal fire against the civilian population. The Mission found strong corroboration of this trend in the testimonies of Israeli soldiers collected in two publications it reviewed.
45. The Mission further examined an incident in which a mosque was targeted with a missile during early evening prayers, resulting in the death of 15 people, and an attack with flechette munitions on a crowd of family and neighbours at a condolence tent, killing five. The Mission finds that both attacks constitute intentional attacks against the civilian population and civilian objects.
46. From the facts ascertained in all the above cases, the Mission finds that the conduct of the Israeli armed forces constitutes grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention in respect of wilful killings and wilfully causing great suffering to protected persons and, as such, give rise to individual criminal responsibility. It also finds that the direct targeting and arbitrary killing of Palestinian civilians is a violation of the right to life.
47. The last incident concerns the bombing of a house resulting in the killing of 22 family members. Israel’s position in this case is that there was an “operational error” and that the intended target was a neighbouring house storing weapons. On the basis of its investigation, the Mission expresses significant doubts about the Israeli authorities’ account of the incident. The A/HRC/12/48 page 21 Mission concludes that, if a mistake was indeed made, there could not be said to be a case of wilful killing. State responsibility of Israel for an internationally wrongful act would, however, remain.
2) The United nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Conflict/Davis Report
(e) Targeting of civilians
1. The commission examined several cases in which the people or groups of people targeted were civilians, at times children, who were not directly participating in the hostilities and did not represent any threat to the Israeli soldiers present in the area. For instance, Salem Shamaly, whose death was recorded on video, was shot several times while looking for a relative during a humanitarian pause, even after he had been felled by the first shot (A/HRC/28/80/Add.1, para. 43). The commission examined two other incidents in which civilians allegedly carrying white flags were targeted by soldiers in Khuza’a. The first case pertained to a large group of people, including children, who were attacked in front of a clinic while attempting to leave the village holding white flags. In the second case, a man in a house carrying a white flag was shot at point-blank range in front of some 30 other people, including women, children and elderly persons, who had sought shelter in the house.
3) Murder of Peaceful Protesters in International Waters
In May of 2010, ten Turkish people were killed by the Israeli military while protesting the illegal blockade of Gaza. Their deaths were considered to be war crimes.
4) Murder of Beach Soccer Playing Children
On July 16th, 2014, Israel killed four Palestinian children while playing soccer. It is obvious to the world that Palestine should be recognized as a state yet you refuse to do so. It is also obvious that war crimes are being committed against the Palestinian people yet the Liberals do nothing but support the oppressors.
5) Burning Babies Alive
In July of 2015, Ali Saad Dawabsha, an 18 month old baby, was burned alive when "settlers" allegedly set fire to his home. "Settlers" as was previously described are occupying land illegally and are in violation of international law so by definition they are already war criminals as per the Geneva Convention.
During the 2014 crisis, your voice was only heard supporting Israel. You stated: “Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Hamas is a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket attacks immediately.” When our elected officials support war crimes, over two thousand Palestinians were killed, how is this reflective of Canadian values? Killing civilians in the pursuit to illegally occupy Palestinian lands is incongruent with Article 3 of the United Nation's Charter of Rights, Canadian values and Article Seven of our Charter of Rights and, in fact, is a stance that is immoral to the extent that it transcends absurdity.
Those who support occupation seem to place more value in making absurd speeches and claiming "obligation to defend" than representing Canadian values. This is very disappointing. Please recognize that in the past those who supported war crimes were also complicit. Many Canadians wished our leaders focused on ending war crimes and not supporting them in a quest to get political support. This is why you were elected to replace Harper, for change.
It is also not anti-Semetic to be against an illegal occupation, settlements, war crimes and the murder of children. Canadians want peace for all in the region and do not want Palestinians attacking Israelis. The path to peace is not refusing to act against war crimes and engage in silent complicity of occupation but rather showing moral character and speaking out to end injustice.
Canada has gone to war against Italy and Germany in the past to end their illegal occupations and no one stated there were racial motivations in place. Opposing war crimes is not racist.
We need to hold those that attack Israelis accountable and once Palestine has an independent state and the occupation ends we must also act to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for those living in Israel.
Here is a brief summary of what the occupation is doing:
70 years of occupation, ethnic cleansing, and unspeakable wars have lead only to a shrinking Palestine and an oppressed unarmed population whose children are being systematically targeted by the Israeli military.
700-1000 Palestinian children every year face arrest, interrogation, torture, detention and imprisonment for alleged crimes including throwing stones at Israeli soldiers. Resisting one's occupier is permissible under international law and yet Israel and the world see that as criminal and deserving of punishment.
2,587 Palestinian children have been killed since 2000 by the Israeli forces
21,737 Palestinian children have been injured since 2000 by the Israeli forces
1,392 Palestinian children have been permanently disabled since 2000 by the Israeli forces
Please see the definition of a war crime:
Canadians should be informed of UN Resolution 181-which Canada signed- and the 1960 Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples and the Fourth Geneva Convention and its subsequent protocols. These documents refer to Palestine’s right to autonomy and rights of occupied people to resist occupation and of the obligation of the occupier to protect those whom they occupy.
As Liberal leader, your party released this statement:
“The Liberal Party of Canada strongly condemns Hamas’ rejection of the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and its rocket attacks on civilians. Israel should be commended for having accepted the ceasefire proposal, and demonstrating its commitment to peace. The Liberal Party of Canada, and many in the international community including the United States, the U.N. Security Council, and the Palestinian Authority, had urged a ceasefire that could have ended the tragic civilian loss of life in Gaza and the suffering of Israelis under terrorist attack. Israel has the right to defend itself and its people. Hamas is a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket attacks immediately.”
When individuals, leaders like yourself, speak of the obligation to kill Palestinians civilians in order to defend Israel, they misrepresent international law; Israel has an obligation to protect the Palestinians as per international law. This is an example of not only being complicit in war crimes but actually facilitating it and misleading the public as Israel, categorically, contrary to Pro-occupationists’ statements, is not obligated to murder civilians in the thousands.
Canadians, like myself, want peace in the region and the cessation of attacks by Palestinians on Israel. I see a direct correlation between achieving peace and ending the illegal occupation. Do the Pro-occupationists not see the correlation? How can Garneau commend a nation for “demonstrating its commitment to peace” when they illegally occupy land, kill children, violate U.N. resolutions for being peace keepers? This is inherently mutually exclusive.
As of 30 October 2014, 135 (69.9%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations and two non-member states have recognized the State of Palestine. Canada disgraced our nation's reputation by voting against it. On 29 November 2012, the UN General Assembly passed a motion changing Palestine's "entity" status to "non-member observer state" by a vote of 138 to 9, with 41 abstentions. Canada was one of few to deny Palestine statehood. Many hope you immediately rectify this stain on our nation’s image.
Canada is working against the international community, as 138-9 shows we are not working with the world to end injustice. The Pro-occupationists’s perspective is akin to blaming the people of France in WW2 for the French Resistance or praising the South African government for their Apartheid state’s actions against Mandela’s movement.
Some leaders also discourage peaceful movements such as BDS. This is another attempt to peacefully protest human rights violations that is attacked and receives pressure from the Pro-occupationists. In the past, those who supported atrocities, war profiteers, Nazi supporters, slavers received their comeuppance through historical context. It is implicitly immoral to occupy and murder others. Your tweets denouncing this reflects poorly on you. Hopefully, Canada can reverse course and speak out against war crimes as opposed to support them before our legacy is forever tarnished.
It is not within my authority to define a person as a war crime collaborator; however, when your party supports an occupying force's "right and obligation" to murder civilians it is obvious what international law's position is on that behaviour.
In essence, as the world knows, the occupation of Palestine and the illegal settlements constitute egregious war crimes, human rights violations and are illegal. In fact, no regime should be “commended” for killing children nor does anyone have the “right” to commit war crimes.
Let us bring peace to the region by ending the occupation and approaching the matter objectively not prejudicially in favor of the occupiers. Canada has a tradition of honourably representing freedom and fighting for the occupied. Canadian forces captured death camps from Nazi control and saved thousands of lives of people who eventually became Israeli citizens.
We should be proud of that and continue to bring peace to the region. Let us hope Canada can please go back to our original values of being peace makers and leaders of freedom as opposed to supporting occupation.
Therefore, Hon PM Trudeau, please reassure Canadians that the "change" we were promised by removing Harper will include ending our government's policy of supporting an illegal occupation and being complicit in supporting war crimes against civilian children. Peace to all, regardless of which side of the wall they are on.