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June 14th, 2022

NDP urges the government to consider latest United Nations report on Israel-Palestine

NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Heather McPherson made the following statement:

"Yesterday, the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel released an important report to the UN Human Rights Council. This is one of many recent reports that brings to light the devastating reality of life for so many Palestinians living under illegal occupation.

This report addresses human rights violations by Palestinian authorities and armed groups as well as by the Government of Israel. However, it makes clear the asymmetrical nature of the role of the Government of Israel in perpetuating the illegal occupation with clear policies to ensure complete control over the region. Moreover, human rights abuses and discrimination have wrought despair and hopelessness among Palestinians.

Unfortunately, the Canadian government’s current policy towards Israel-Palestine does not reflect this stark reality. For the Liberal government to continue to say that Canada is “a steadfast ally to Israel and a friend of the Palestinian people,” without any real commitment to calling out human rights abuses when and where they happen, means Canada’s policy is not fit for the purpose. The federal government has ignored the asymmetric nature of this conflict and must stop perpetuating a double-standard where it calls out human rights abuses by some and not by others.

Israelis and Palestinians both have the right to live in peace and security – but this dream is increasingly impossible to imagine. The endless cycles of conflict require a real commitment not just from Israelis and Palestinians but also from the international community, including Canada. This means calling out human rights abuses and discrimination, including the construction of illegal settlements, forced displacement, settler violence, attacks injuring and killing Israeli civilians, military detention of Palestinian children, and long-standing discrimination against Palestinian citizens in Israel. It also requires an end to impunity and an international and independent investigation into these abuses.

New Democrats have repeatedly urged the Liberal government to end its silence on this issue. Among the many solutions we have proposed, the federal government should immediately end arms sales to Israel and end all trade and economic cooperation with illegal settlements.

We all want to see a future where Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side, in peace. I urge the Government of Canada to give serious consideration to this United Nations report, and to revisit its failing policy towards Israel and Palestine. It is time for Canada to show the principled commitment required to help bring an end to the occupation."