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.
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.