We cannot keep ignoring the endless occupation of Palestine

A capacity crowd attended this event on Thursday evening, 26 April 2018.

In her introduction, Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason stated:

This discussion is particularly timely, taking place as it is against a backdrop of the continued use of firearms, including live ammunition, by Israeli security forces against mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters and observers for a fourth straight week near the fence between occupied Gaza and Israel.

Canadian law professor Michael Lynk explained his role as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, talked about the situation in Gaza, particularly the health crisis, and highlighted many ongoing grave breaches of international law by Israel in relation to the 50-year military occupation.

In paragraph 64 of the advance, unedited version of his latest report, Professor Lynk stated:

… Israel has been in profound breach of the right to health with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Its avaricious occupation — measured by the expanding settlement enterprise, the annexation of territory, the confiscation of private and public lands, the pillaging of resources, the publicly-stated ambitions for permanent control over all or part of the Territory, and the fragmentation of the lands left for the Palestinians — has had a highly disruptive impact upon health care and the broader social determinants for health for the Palestinians.

The second panelist, Brad Parker, is a staff attorney and international advocacy officer at Defense for Children International – Palestine, an independent, local Palestinian child rights organization based in Ramallah. His comments focused on the widespread ill-treatment and torture that Palestinian children encounter by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank:

Israel is the only country in the world to automatically prosecute children [from age 12] in military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial.

In the first week of April, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, participated in a Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group trip to Israel and Palestine with 17 other MPs from all 5 political parties represented in the House of Commons.  In her comments, she denounced the treatment of children, as well as the Palestinian population in general, under [Israeli] “military dictatorship” and made specific reference to her statement in relation to the shooting of unarmed civilians along the border between Gaza and Israel:

Canada must not remain silent. We must suspend all military trade with Israel and increase pressure for the world community to collectively present an honest broker to replace the United States in this ongoing conflict. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the United States can no longer play that critical role.

For an unedited version of the latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk, click here.

For the latest press release on the Gaza situation by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, name, click here.

Photo credit: Ottawa office (MCC Canada). From left to right: Michael Lynk, Elizabeth May, Peggy Mason, Brad Parker.

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23 Responses to “We cannot keep ignoring the endless occupation of Palestine”

  1. J.WMay 16, 2018 at 11:03 pm #

    Inconvenient Truths About Gaza, Hamas and Israel’s Border
    May 16, 2018

    • Why is there a border fence between Israel and Gaza?

    Israel captured Gaza from the Egyptians during the 1967 Six-Day War. For decades, there were no border fences. Many Israelis shopped in Gaza and many Arabs worked in Israel proper. In 2005, then Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, unilaterally removed all military posts, as well as the thousands of Jews who had settled in the Gaza Strip, and gave Palestinians full control of the territory.

    In 2006, Palestinians in Gaza elected Hamas, a terrorist organization whose Charter calls for the total destruction of the Jewish State. Soon, suicide bombers and thousands of missiles targeted Israel leading to military confrontations. In recent years, Hamas built a network of underground terror tunnels to circumvent the border fences. Israel, like any other nation in the world, cannot be expected to tolerate an attempted invasion of its land.

    • Why are the conditions in Gaza so bad?

    Hamas diverted building materials and other aid intended for civilians, and instead chose to build massive underground tunnels to launch attacks against Israel. Rather than turning Gaza into an international tourist destination on the Mediterranean and dramatically improving the economy and the life of the people, Hamas’ only interest is its radical terrorist ideology, which chooses to create severe shortages of goods and services vital to the pursuit of a normal future.

    Rather than admit their culpability in allowing this unbearable situation to fester, the international community, including the United Nations, and the European Union, continue to cynically blame Israel and Israel alone. But the simple fact is that none of those nations, faced with a similar crisis would act any differently than the Israelis.

    • Don’t Palestinians have the right to peaceful protest without fearing they would be killed?

    Of course, everyone has the right to protest both individually and collectively, but what if the Million Man or Women’s March decided to violently storm the White House or Congress? What would our police and soldiers do? How much more critical is the situation at the Gaza border, which has a long history of terrorists blowing up restaurants, buses, and schools. Hamas admits now that 50 out of the 60 deaths on Monday, May 14, 2018, widely condemned by leaders and the media as an Israeli “massacre” or “slaughter”, were in fact, members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist groups. Meanwhile, the Israeli government continues to send leaflets warning Palestinian protesters to stay a safe distance from the border.

    • Don’t Palestinians just want to live in peace?

    Without question, many Palestinians want peace. But under Hamas rule, their children are taught otherwise in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) schools. Textbooks never mention the word Israel, maps show only Arab names for cities and sites in Israel proper. The new Hamas Charter says, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.”

    Even UNRWA, the single largest employer in Gaza, has been co-opted by a Hamas-driven agenda. In fact, UNRWA closed schools on May 14-15, knowing full well many of the children would be put in harm’s way.

    • Are women and children targeted at the border?

    There has been video evidence showing that women and youngsters are being brought into the fray to act as human shields and cannon fodder. Hamas’ hope is that the most vulnerable amongst them will be shot by the Israelis, which would lead to headlines denouncing Israel as carrying out massacres against innocents. It is the worst form of child abuse to deliberately place children in danger, just to score a few paragraphs in the international media and social media.

    • Would these events have occurred if President Trump hadn’t moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

    Hamas needs little excuse to engage in their most profitable enterprise — terror — especially when they know anything involving President Trump would garner international headlines. Proof of this is that these marches actually began on March 30th, six weeks prior to the US Embassy move.
    Hamas selected May 14th, Israel’s 70th anniversary and the inauguration of the new US Embassy to gain maximum coverage. And it worked – rioters rushed the border, Israeli soldiers defended their nation, and the media, continues to give a moral pass to Hamas while denouncing Israel, again and again.

    • Peggy MasonMay 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm #

      There are so many problems with the commentary offered byJ.W. that one hardly knows where to begin. Let us just focus on the last part regarding the date of these events. This is the latest example of a long history of peaceful protests by ordinary Palestinians against an increasingly brutal Israeli occupation of their lands where the constant aim is to dehumanize and marginalize them. The six weeks of demonstrations were planned by a broad cross-section of Palestinian civil society organizations and supported by all political parties including Hamas. The focus of the demonstrations was the anniversary of Nakba or “catastrophe” when 700,000 Palestinians in 1948 were driven from their homes and lands in the 1948 war that led to the creation of the state of Israel.

      The Canadian public got a glimpse of the horror facing ordinary Palestinian men, women, and children when the Globe and Mail relayed the story of a Canadian doctor shot in both legs by Israeli military snipers. Even Prime Minister Trudeau had to protest this barbarism. See: http://ow.ly/jinR30k3mxd

  2. Dorothy FieldApril 30, 2018 at 10:27 pm #

    The last time I was in Israel/Palestine, I travelled with a Compassionate Listening delegation. We stayed in Israel proper and on the West Bank. We listened to a great variety of Israelis and Palestinians. Our particular group happened to be all Jewish. It was 1987. The situation was terrible then. The wall had not yet been built. It is much, much worse now.

    It’s long past time for Canada to take a stand for justice and human rights for all and to defend Palestinians from the assaults and oppression they face. The Israelis’ current use of live ammunition is beyond horrible. It is unconscionable. Acting as if CIJA speaks for all Jews is a grave mistake. They should NOT be the voice the Canadian government listens to.

  3. Anne StreeterApril 28, 2018 at 4:18 pm #

    Thank you Cease-fire – always on the right side of issues! Why is Canada not speaking out on this so important situation? The Jewish lobby is so powerful but we also know that some of the best and brightest Jews are speaking out against the present Israeli government and its brutal treatment of the Palestinians.

  4. DaveApril 28, 2018 at 1:57 pm #

    The treatment of the Palestinians is a classic example of the axiom: The violence suffered by the victims becomes the violence of the oppressors. For the Israelis, with a four thousand year history of a commitment to justice, this a terrible betrayal of their tradition. I’m afraid that some members of the current Israeli cabinet are not far away from calling for a final solution of the Palestinian problem. That said, there are a number of fine Jewish organizations, including Bet’Selem and JVP, that honor their tradition.

  5. Carol PickupApril 28, 2018 at 11:59 am #

    We must demand justice for the people of Palestine. The government of israel is corrupt and needs to be exposed to the world. Where is the United Nations on this issue? Canada needs to step up to the plate on this unacceptable situation!!

  6. jordan BishopApril 28, 2018 at 11:06 am #

    The murder of unarmed civilians is appalling. But this takes place against a background of the destruction of housing, agriculture, drinking water, sewage treatment, fishing rights, as well as the imprisonment and torture of children (and adults). All this amounts to denial of the wonderful Jewish tradition, as well as the normal obligations of an occupying power.

  7. Donald KerrApril 28, 2018 at 11:02 am #

    Read the book by Ilan Pappe The Myths About Isreal. It makes clear that this is Settler Colonialism with many parallels to North America and others. It constitutes a serious crime. Canada must take a leadership position now that we are facing our own culpability in settler colonialism.

    • Donald KerrApril 28, 2018 at 11:04 am #

      The book title is Ten Myths About Israel. Sorry.

  8. jordan BishopApril 28, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    The slaughter of unarmed citizens is appalling, but this takes place against a background of the destruction of housing, deprivation of clean water, destruction of sewage treatment, destruction of agriculture, the imprisonment and torture of children as well as adults. That Israelis should behave in this manner is an appalling abandonment of the Jewish tradition.

  9. jordan BishopApril 28, 2018 at 10:50 am #

    The shooting of unarmed civilians is appalling, but perhaps even worse is that constant destruction of crops, deprivation of clean water, prevention of sewage treatment. An occupying power with a splinter of conscience will guarantee these services to the occupied people. And it will not imprison and torture children and adults. All this is a betrayal of the deepest values of Judaism.

  10. Alexander QuagliaApril 28, 2018 at 8:22 am #

    I am pleased to see some of our most important political members to finally take a stand on the unjust way Israel deal with the Palestinian problem.

  11. Caroline MaloneyApril 28, 2018 at 1:11 am #

    I can not believe this horror and injustice perpetrated against the Palestinian people ( Zionism!) is allowed to go on and has for so long without the international community calling this the genocide that it is! Then there’s the Canadian government that’s in total denial out of fear of the Jewish lobby groups! As one commentator wrote, if this was any other country other than Israel, there would be public outrage!
    Thank you, Peggy Mason and Ceasefire for initiating some intelligent factual public discussion about the violence being done to the Palestinian people that has got to stop! It is Zionism and NOT anti-semitism as the Zionists would like us to believe!

  12. Frank MitchellApril 27, 2018 at 9:17 pm #

    Does any MP have the guts to support BDS?

  13. Frank MitchellApril 27, 2018 at 9:16 pm #

    Sickening situation.
    Does any Canadian MP have the guts to support BDS?

  14. Susan SchellenbergApril 27, 2018 at 8:00 pm #

    As a Canadian artist of Irish descent and named Schellenberg through a 1960 marriage to a first generation German Canadian, the possibility that the very fact of my surname would cause pain to a Jewish person has long conditioned me to remain silent on the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

    However, at this time, and having long recovered from being sexually traumatized by a priest in childhood, I hope I can responsibly employ the concept of trauma as well as of art to express my thoughts on the current Israeli/Palestinian horrors.

    In recent years, I attended an Elie Wiesel holocaust theatre work that ended with a powerful cautionary “We must never forget“ statement to the entire Jewish community.

    Though I in no way mean to compare my trauma experience to those of holocaust survivors or the subsequent generations of holocaust affected sufferers that followed; personal experience and knowledge of the dual role the presence of a Godhead and the “letting go process play in a trauma dynamic, dashed my hopes for a Israeli/Palestinian peace agreement.

    I can only hope for the founding of a,“Psychologists Without Borders” organization able to widely intervene before history proves that Hitler won the war.

    Susan Schellenberg

  15. Jocelyn ChouinardApril 27, 2018 at 6:41 pm #

    We also can not create even more problems by sending in troupes from Canada. This part of the world has been a hornet’s nest for so many years, especially with the majority of Israel is populated with Americans. The last thing that the world needs now are more confrontations, more wars and more death of innocent people caught in these war torn zones! Religion also play a massive role in the division of so many. It is time to wake up, to grow up and to begin to eject war mongering rulers, religious leaders who believe that their religion is the only right one and bullies. Women, children, babies are being massacred because of these factors.

  16. EricApril 27, 2018 at 5:40 pm #

    Because of the millions of dollars to be made through declared or undeclared wars, I have no doubt that there are pressures on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides to make sure that peace does NOT break out. While these forces will lost in the end, they are doing well at the moment. What is needed from leaders on both sides is respectful honesty and a sincere desire for peace. Evidence of either is difficult to find.

    I find it impossible to comprehend why the Israelis (God’s chosen people, I think I’ve been told) consistently choose illegal and inhuman means to demand their rights, their place, their status in this world. It’s almost as if their god has abandoned them and they have no other alternatives. Wouldn’t it be nice to find leaders who understand the power of kindness, even kindness between enemies?

  17. DemetriosApril 27, 2018 at 5:40 pm #

    Soon after the second world war and the holocaust, the state of Israel was founded, and ever since (actually, even before 1948) it has been persecuting the Palestinian population.

    How is it possible that this injustice has been going on for over 70 years? By the people who know first hand what genocide feels like? Why hasn’t the international community manifested a significant reaction of objection to these horrors? if any other country committed such acts, there would most certainly have been an outcry. Is the horrible situation in the Middle East at least partly because of Israel? Why haven’t ISIS attacked the Jewish state in the last seven years?

    I need not state an answer to these questions.

    • Ceasefire.caApril 29, 2018 at 12:36 pm #

      Attacks by ISIS anywhere are abhorrent. Their aim is to sow divisions within the Muslim world and between Muslims and others everywhere. The Security Council, under President Obama, in December 2015, did pass a strong resolution condemning new settlements and other grave breaches of international law by Israel. But further concrete action is stymied by the steadfast support in the American Congress for Israel, regardless of the particular policies being pursued by its government. And of course President Trump has abandoned any pretense of even-handedness with his decision on Jerusalem.

  18. Bev DavisApril 27, 2018 at 5:40 pm #

    I think Canada should support the United Nations stand on the Israeli military behavior in the middle east. Israel condemns the holocost the Jewish faith people were subjected to in Europe and at the same time perpetrates the same thing on the Palestinians. Genocide is genocide no matter who does it.

  19. EricApril 27, 2018 at 5:26 pm #

    Good to see this (though the emailed subject line “New post on Ceasefire.ca” is guaranteed to minimize readership).

    What can we do as Canadians? Supporting BDS — Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel — is the major civil society, peaceful way we can put pressure on Israel. We also need to stop parliamentarians from singling out Israel for protection from criticism.

    • Ann CoffeyApril 27, 2018 at 6:44 pm #

      I agree with everything you have written, Eric. One thing Canada should definitely not do is to make it against the law to criticize Israel as the US and 27 or so other countries have done. You Tube takes down any videos it deems critical of Israel as well. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/49155.htm