Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on May 9, 2014

In the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Canadian government, rather than working for peace, has chosen to side with one of the combatants: Israel. In January of this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper went so far as to tell the Israeli parliament that “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”

Canada is now much more pro-Israel than the US government. Indeed, we are, as Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put it, “Israel’s best friend.”

By failing to be even-handed, Canada has become complicit in the bloodshed on both sides of the conflict.


All the quotations from Prime Minister Harper are taken from his address to the Israeli parliament on January 20 2014.

1. According to Harper, Canada supports Israel because it “is the only country in the Middle East which has long anchored itself in the ideals of freedom, democracy and the rule of law.”

►Palestinian citizens of Israel, about 20% of Israel’s population, suffer from widespread discrimination, affecting everything from education and employment to land ownership, and making them second class citizens.

►Palestinians living in the Israeli occupied West Bank cannot vote in Israeli elections, while Israeli settlers living in the West Bank can vote in Israeli elections.

►Israel’s occupation of the West Bank is illegal under international law, as are the Israeli-only settlements it has built there, now housing 350,000 Israeli settlers.

►Israel maintains an illegal air, land, and sea blockade on Gaza, preventing people and goods from entering or leaving and creating a humanitarian catastrophe.

2. According to Harper, westerners who “call Israel an apartheid state” are practising a “new strain” of anti-Semitism.

►Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry used the word “apartheid” to describe the direction in which Israel is heading.

►In the view of many, including Desmond Tutu, Israel is already an apartheid state. Its laws and policies in the occupied Palestinian Territories (the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip) bestow privileges on Jewish settlers and disadvantage Palestinians.

►Israel is constructing a separation wall along and within the West Bank. The Wall will be 700 km on completion and will further restrict the movement of Palestinians.

3. Regarding Iran, Harper stated: “Canada has long held the view that every diplomatic measure should be taken to ensure that the regime never obtains a nuclear weapon.”

►Hypocritically, the Canadian government regularly calls for new sanctions on Iran for its nuclear program, but it never asks Israel to give up its sizeable, undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons or to sign the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons ‒ to which both Iran and Canada are signatories.


Why has the Canadian government adopted such a one-sided, war-promoting approach to Israel and Palestine?

  • Canadian companies have lucrative contracts with the Israeli government.
  • The Conservative Party is playing to the beliefs of its base about Israel.
  • Canada and Israel are both colonial settler countries founded on the dispossession and impoverishment of Indigenous peoples.


We call on the Canadian government to work with other nations to create a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine.

Some of the conditions required for a just and lasting peace:

  • Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territory and withdraw to the legally recognized 1967 borders.
  • Israel to dismantle the separation wall.
  • Israel to recognize the rights of Palestinian refugees.
  • Israel to recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a state.
  • Palestinians to recognize the right of Israel to exist.
  • Both sides to renounce violence.


The BDS campaign is a global movement initiated in 2005 by Palestinian civil society. It calls on the international community to campaign against the Israeli government through BDS until Israel complies with international law.

Learn more about BDS:

WALLS TURNED ON THEIR SIDES ARE BRIDGES: Graffiti on the US-Mexico border wall


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