Canadian lawmakers urge sanctions over Israeli annexation plans

Woman in sunglasses holds sign

Palestinians in Gaza City demonstrate against Israeli plans to annex large parts of the occupied West Bank, 1 July.

Mohammed Zaanoun ActiveStills

Dozens of Canadian lawmakers have signed a pledge urging diplomatic and economic sanctions to prevent Israel annexing large parts of the occupied West Bank.

Almost 60 members representing four of the five parties in the House of Commons endorsed the statement calling on the government to demonstrate “meaningful opposition to the annexation plans” by considering “all reasonable diplomatic and economic options to stop annexation and prompt Israeli compliance with international law.”

The pledge is backed by MPs from the center-left New Democratic Party, Green Party leader Elizabeth May and the entire caucus of the Bloc Québécois.

Just two members of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ruling Liberal Party signed on.

“It is heartening to see strong and vocal parliamentary opposition to annexation,” Thomas Woodley, president of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, said.

“MPs from across the political spectrum have raised their voice to say that Canada must use all the tools available to try to stop Israel’s planned annexation, and to protect the rights of the Palestinian people.”

CJPME is among a broad coalition of civil society organizations that launched or endorsed the pledge, including faith groups, the Canadian Labour Congress, the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Canadian Federation of Students.

Thousands of people have emailed their lawmakers urging them to back the pledge.

Trudeau doubles down

Trudeau’s government has expressed verbal opposition to the annexation plans but remains a staunch ally of Israel, committed to shielding it from any consequences for its illegal acts.

“If Canada is serious about its opposition to annexation, it needs to do something about it,” said Corey Balsam, national coordinator for Independent Jewish Voices, one the groups that endorsed the pledge.

“The Trudeau government has imposed sanctions and spoken out forcefully against Russia for annexing Crimea. It would only be consistent for it to act in a similar way with respect to Israel.”

A recent poll commissioned by peace groups and done by the independent firm EKOS found that 74 percent of Canadians want their government to express opposition to Israeli annexation, and more than two in five want to impose economic or diplomatic sanctions should Israel proceed.

CJPME attributes Canada’s embarrassing loss in its recent bid to secure a seat on the UN Security Council in part to its extreme pro-Israel policies.

But if anything Trudeau appears to be doubling down with the appointment of former Ontario premier Bob Rae as Canada’s new ambassador to the United Nations.

“Rae has long pushed pro-US, militarist and anti-Palestinian positions,” according to Canadian analyst Yves Engler.

International opposition mounts

In May, some 130 British lawmakers signed a letter urging sanctions on Israel as a response to annexation.

And last month more than 1000 lawmakers from 25 countries across Europe signed a letter demanding “commensurate consequences” for any Israeli annexation.

“Failure to adequately respond would encourage other states with territorial claims to disregard basic principles of international law,” the European lawmakers state.

In the European Parliament’s foreign affairs committee on Monday, Mick Wallace, a member from Ireland, again pressed EU officials on their failure to hold Israel to account:

Wallace slammed the European Union’s “toothless language of urging and concern” and pressed for suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement which grants Israel immense political and economic benefits.

Wallace has been a consistent voice for Israel to be held accountable.

On Monday, he again criticized the EU for continuing to allow imports from Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.

“Does the EU not accept that Israel is operating an apartheid state right now?” Wallace said.

“Do you accept the fact that the apartheid state of South Africa did not change until international recognition and acceptance changed? Because when it did, the regime had to change.”

“As long as we are complicit and silent over the behavior of Israel towards the Palestinians, we can’t possibly expect anything to change,” Wallace added.

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Let this be said about the Bloc Québécois: it is racist, bigoted, anti-Muslim, anti-Black, and anti-Jewish. It is a party of supremacists, when they say "In Quebec, there is no racism" they meant it: if your "laine pur" ("die in the wool", white, Catholic, Canada French - not belle langue de France - and a peculiar colonialism without an Empire), you can't be a racist. If you are not "laine pur", you don't exist. The Bloc exalts colonialism, especially because they are habitants, settlers, who remained after the French Empire gave up the game to the British Empire. The Bloc despise Sir John MacDonald but adores anything French and colonialism. If the Bloc shows concern about Palestine, they are dissembling, just crocodile tears. For example (of many):

https://pressprogress.ca/bloc-...
https://pressprogress.ca/bloc-...
https://www.nationalobserver.c...

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Mr Peter Purich is wrong. Totally wrong. First, may I correct him, the expression is not ''laine pure'', but ,''pure laine''. It is obvious that he does not speak French, my ''maternal language'' as we say or ''langue maternelle'' in français. He is not only wrong, but verbally agressive and even violent. Many French settlers intermarried with native, First Nations' members, contrary to British settlers, and to this day we welcome people to visit and choose to live here in Québec. As for his comment as it relates to the content of the article, he does not state if he approves or opposes annexation, which is what he should concentrate on, it seems to me. Everyone is welcome in Québec. I welcome Mr Purich to visit us sometimes, at his convenience.

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The Trudeau regime vocally -- but not in any other way -- opposed annexation after being embarrassed by an open letter from dozens of former diplomates and politicians reminding the government of its official policy. Then the Liberals showed their true colours by appointing an ardent Zionist as UN ambassador. Bob Rae is the sort of reasonable-sounding window dressing Liberals like.

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Notice the missing signature of NDP leader Jagmeet Singh. Singh also took an active role in suppressing a nominal BDS resolution at the last NDP Convention. NDP = No Difference Party.

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Ali Abunimah

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.