The violence in Israel and Palestine continues. Every week there is news of more killing. What can be done to end the bloodshed and bring a lasting peace to the region?
The Harper government, rather than working for peace, chose to side with one of the combatants, Israel, with Prime Minister Harper going so far as to tell the Israel parliament that “Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”
Will the Trudeau government be more even-handed? Regrettably, the record indicates otherwise. Most tellingly, Canada’s votes on Israel-Palestine matters at the UN, shortly after the federal election, were unchanged from previous years, continuing a pattern of unconditional support for Israel.
By failing to be even-handed, Canada has made itself complicit in the bloodshed on both sides of the conflict.
ISRAEL & PALESTINE: 10 KEY FACTS
- In 1948, in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust which saw the murder of six million European Jews, Israel was founded as an independent Jewish state. The UN plan also called for the creation of an independent Palestinian state.
- Like Canada, Israel was founded on land that was already occupied, its creation causing the displacement of 750,000 Palestinians. Many of them, along with their descendants, continue to live in refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.
- Israel’s Law of Return entitles any Jewish person, from any part of the world, to immediate Israeli citizenship, whereas Palestinians whose families were expelled in 1948 have no right of return.
- 1 million Palestinians live in Israel where they are second class citizens.
- Since 1967, Gaza and the West Bank have been under Israeli military occupation.
- In 2005, Israel withdrew its soldiers from Gaza. However, it has maintained an air, land, and sea blockade, preventing people and goods from entering or leaving and creating a humanitarian catastrophe.
- In the West Bank, the Israeli army has complete control. Palestinians are subject to Israeli military justice, under which torture, mass arrests, detention without trial, harsh restrictions on movement, and house demolitions are legal.
- Since the 1970s, Israel has been confiscating Palestinian land in the West Bank and establishing Israeli settlements. Today, about 350,000 Israeli settlers live in these settlements, which are illegal under international law.
- Israel is building a separation wall in the West Bank. The wall will be 700 km on completion and is putting prime land into Israeli hands and further restricting the movement of Palestinians.
- Israel has the most powerful military in the Middle East and one of the most powerful militaries in the world. In addition to conventional weapons, it has an undeclared arsenal of nuclear weapons. Unlike Iran, Israel has not signed the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty.
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.
- Canada and Israel are both colonial settler states 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:
- Both sides to renounce violence
- Palestinians to recognize the right of Israel to exist
- Israel to recognize the right of Palestine to exist as a state
- 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
YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND A WORKSHOP: PATHWAYS TO A JUST PEACE IN PALESTINE & ISRAEL
SUNDAY APRIL 10, 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
St James United Church, 4506 Sherwood Drive
306-543-2626 – www.stjamesunitedregina.ca
MONDAY APRIL 11, 7 pm – 9 pm
Knox-Met United Church, 2340 Victoria Avenue
306-525-9128 – www.knoxmetregina.org
Presenters Kathy Bergan and Jan McIntyre will share information from their experience as Christians who have been part of peace efforts in Palestine and Israel.
- Provide information not readily available in the mainstream media
- Briefly explain the history of the conflict
- Talk about the role of International Humanitarian Law and UN Resolutions in this conflict
- Share personal stories of Israelis and Palestinians working for a just peace
- Discuss some of the barriers that prevent people from speaking out and becoming involved in peacemaking
Sponsored by United Network for a Just Peace in Palestine and Israel, a United Church related network: www.unjppi.org
EVERYONE IS WELCOME