Justin Trudeau buys drones “tested” on Palestinians

Boy holding metal object stands amid rubble

A Palestinian child holds part of a missile launched by a drone which destroyed the house of the Eshtawi family, in Gaza City’s al-Zaytoun neighborhood, 14 July 2014. The demolition left 27 people homeless.

Basel Yazouri ActiveStills

Canada has an anti-Palestinian record second to none.

But recent moves suggest the government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is escalating its enmity towards the Palestinian people.

There was Trudeau’s decision in November to appoint Irwin Cotler, a prominent Israel lobbyist, as special envoy on anti-Semitism.

Cotler is tasked with implementing the so-called IHRA definition of anti-Semitism – a document promoted by Israel and its lobby as a tool to censor and smear supporters of Palestinian rights by falsely tarring them as anti-Jewish bigots.

The following month, Trudeau’s government placed itself in a tiny minority, along with fellow settler-colonial states Israel, the US and Australia, to vote against UN resolutions reaffirming fundamental Palestinian rights.

And in recent days, Canada lined up again with the US and Australia to condemn the ruling by the International Criminal Court clearing the way for war crimes investigations of Israeli leaders.

This anti-Palestinian extremism belies Trudeau’s fluffy image as woke hipster who supports LGBTQ rights and multiculturalism.

But it is entirely in keeping with Canada’s ongoing mistreatment of the Indigenous peoples on whose land it sits – in spite of Trudeau’s rhetorical commitment to “reconciliation” with First Nations.

Greenwashing

Now the Trudeau government is purchasing a “civilian” version of the Hermes 900 drone made by Israeli weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.

The deal announced in December by Canada’s transport ministry is worth $28 million.

As Israeli media reported, the Hermes 900 was first “tested” by Israel during its 2014 assault on Gaza.

Israel killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 550 children during that assault, in attacks that frequently obliterated entire families.

A major weapons supplier to the Israeli military, Elbit was deeply involved in, and reaped huge profits from, that attack on Gaza.

Canada is greenwashing the purchase from Elbit by claiming the drones will be used for surveillance of the Arctic region, including “to detect oil spills, survey ice and marine habitats.”

This purchase, the Trudeau government claims, will help “to keep our waters clean and safe.”

In fact, what it will do is put money into the hands of Israel’s blood-soaked arms industry, effectively rewarding it for perpetrating war crimes whose investigation and prosecution Trudeau opposes.

Lethal trade

Indeed, while the Trudeau government claims to be a global champion of human rights, it has massively expanded its arms trade with Saudi Arabia, despite that country’s brutal war on Yemen.

Last month, activists protested the Trudeau policy by blocking the entrance of a Hamilton, Ontario, factory that ships weapons to the Saudis.

And now Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East, an advocacy group, is urging Canadians to write the Trudeau government opposing the Elbit deal.

“Through this purchase, Canada directly supports the profits of a weapons company responsible for ongoing human rights violations against Palestinians,” CJPME says in an action alert.

As CJPME notes in a useful backgrounder, Elbit brags that the “civilian” drones Trudeau’s government is purchasing draw on the “legacy” of its killer drones used on Palestinians.

Fake friends

Perhaps sensitive to how unpopular its anti-Palestinian policies are with ordinary Canadians, the Trudeau government falsely portrays itself as a friend of Palestinians.

Through its diplomatic office in Ramallah, Canada purports to support the “empowerment” of Palestinian women. And a Canadian general has been making the rounds among Palestinian officials, offering “cooperation”:

No one should be fooled by this.

Canada is no friend if it seeks to obstruct justice at the International Criminal Court, votes against Palestinian rights at the UN, smears human rights advocates as anti-Semites and makes deals with Israeli arms companies that profit from killing Palestinians.

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Comments

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Will the "Drones of Peace" be operated by Canadian Air Force pilots or Minister Transport clerks playing with their cool toys? First Greece (https://electronicintifada.net...) now Canada?? As Mr. Cronin points out: "Frontex stresses that the crew operating these drones are “experienced,” without spelling out what that means." RADAR now but there are "exciting, thrilling, awesome" options tomorrow! Like "tear gas", missles, and so much more!

By the way, Operation Proteus? What is Operation Proteus?

https://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/...

https://www.canada.ca/en/depar...

RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces: once an indigenous population clearance and imperialism service, always an indigenous population clearance and imperialism service.

Apparently, Brigadier-General J. E. S. Boucher is in Jerusalem to protect the illegitimate Zionist entity - but not Palestine - because Foreign Affairs Minister Garneau states that Canada does not recognize a Palestinian state, despite the fact that the International Criminal Court has affirmed that the ICC has territorial jurisdiction to investigate suspected war crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And also, Minister Garneau says "We will continue to support the @IntlCrimCourt and its critical work". Or not?? Life would be so much easier to just have some convictions!

Minister Transport, Minister Foreign Affairs, and now the Canadian Armed Forces? A bit ... over kill? Poor Freeland! Perhaps that Bolivian coup was just too much.

We do NOT want your Elbit "remotely piloted aircraft systems" of "thin edge of the wedge".

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Justin Trudeau has always been a willing patsy for Zionists, and talks out of both sides of his mouth. He wouldn't know the truth if it sprayed him in the eyes. A sanctimonious, two-faced creep!

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This contract to purchase drones from Elbit is the most outrageous decision of the Canadian government - almost as unprincipled and stupid as the continued sale of LAVs to Saudi Arabia. Have you guys lost your minds?
Ali Abounima's comments are spot on. Neither of the above decisions can be justified;in fact they are clear examples of utter hypocracy on the part of our government. Nothing short of cancellation can undo the damage to our reputation.

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Kudos to Ali Abunimah for telling it like it is. The Trudeau government is riddled with elements of the pro-Israel lobby in its ranks and in its inner sanctum, namely the Prime Minister's Office. It can be argued that Trudeau is even to the right of Stephen Harper concerning his policy on Palestine. Trudeau has sent a large shipment of weaponry to Saudi Arabia as well confirming where he stands on human rights (for white colonial regimes, that is). The fact is Trudeau is full of artifice and little substance which makes him the perfect tool for those manipulating him behind the scene. Just wind him up and point him in the direction you want him to go!

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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.