No 1742 Posted by fw, August 3, 2016
Tomorrow, the following letter will by emailed to Prime Minister Trudeau. A print copy will follow.
Thursday, August 4, 2016
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
During a March 2016 global town hall event, Paul Darlaston asked why you appeared unwilling to deviate from the past Conservative leadership by calling out Israeli actions that ‘block the peace process.’
Here’s part of what you said in response, excerpted from a Huffington Post article titled: Trudeau Says His Government Willing To Criticize Canada’s ‘Friend’ Israel
“Israel is a friend, Israel is an ally, Israel is a country that has values and an approach on many, many issues that are very much aligned with Canadians values. But, at the same time… we won’t hesitate from talking about unhelpful steps like the continued illegal settlements. We will point that out. We will continue to engage in a forthright and open way because that’s what people expect of Canada.”
“There are times we disagree with our friends and we will not hesitate from pointing that out.
In the context of your foregoing response, below, I pose three follow-up questions.
But first, here’s a backdrop to my questions.
As a blogger and responsibly informed advocate for justice for Palestinians, on a daily basis I monitor dozens of online news and information sources tracking Israel-Palestine developments. Many of the horror stories coming out of this region are very upsetting to my wife Helga and me.
Here are just three examples of such stories that I recently posted to my blog, Citizen Action Monitor.
No public censure by Canada of Israel’s induced water scarcity for Palestinians posted August 1, 2016. Although there’s no water scarcity in the West Bank, Palestinians suffer from Israel’s induced water cutbacks. A German hydrologist, who has worked in the water sector throughout the West Bank and Gaza Strip since 1997, calls this an act of “hydro-apartheid”. The hydrologist faults leaders of the international community for failing to apply political pressure on Israel’s government: “This pressure never came. Never did the EU or my German government issue even a public statement in which it ‘deplores’ or ‘regrets’ the obstructions in the water sector. This is a true scandal…. The undersupply of Palestinians is desired, planned and carefully executed…. In some areas, water is actively used as a weapon for ethnic cleansing.”
New report documents Israel’s cruel treatment, illegal imprisonment of Palestinian children in 2014-15 posted July 24, 2016. The illegality of Israel’s behavior and the political context in which it occurred during this period is thoroughly examined. “This report has demonstrated how such practices [which ‘amount to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment”] were inflicted upon Palestinian children from whom Addameer gathered affidavits and/or legally represented. Additionally, they were painfully shackled upon arrest and during transfer to detention facilities, blindfolded, humiliated through strip-searches, exposed to uncomfortable temperatures, and deprived of sleep in order to erode their coping abilities. The actions enumerated here are cruel, damaging, and consciously employed. They are also illegal.” The Addameer Report, 2016.
Today, as we celebrate Canada Day, Israeli soldiers gunned down Sara, 27, a lovely, pregnant Palestinian woman posted July 1, 2016 – To put a human face on the Palestinian tragedy, consider Sara’s story. Witnesses to the shooting claimed the soldiers had no cause or justification to kill the young pregnant woman. They could have easily subdued her without resorting to lethal fire. The army incredibly claimed the pregnant Sara attempted to stab a soldier. Sources noted that Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian medics from approaching the injured woman, and she died from her wounds shortly afterwards. The soldiers later placed Sara’s dead body in a black plastic bag: an Israeli ambulance took her to an unknown destination. One fact is undeniable – Israeli forces have killed two more innocent Palestinians – a mother and her unborn baby.
In an eerily similar incident, on April 28, 2016, the Ma’an News Agency reported that a pregnant mother of two and her brother, 16, were gunned down at an Israeli checkpoint. Israeli police alleged the woman “threw a knife in their direction.” Perhaps the deaths of three more Palestinians – mother, unborn baby, brother — are not even worth reporting, certainly not in Canada’s mainstream media.
My three follow-up questions follow this short contextual frame.
Given your stated willingness to engage Israel in “a forthright and open way because that’s what people expect of Canada” —
and, in the light of Global Affairs Canada’s July 12 news release, stating that “Canada is a strong, vocal and forceful advocate for the rights” of groups that are victims of “discrimination, violence and unjust laws” —
and given the above three stories selected from countless examples of Israel’s “discrimination, violence and unjust laws” against Palestinians –
Here are my three questions:
First, why have you not engaged Israel, in “a forthright and open way”, on its very serious ongoing crimes and violations of Palestinian rights?
Second, if the recent, above-mentioned, Israeli crimes against Palestinians do not move you to speak out, and if five decades of what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe refers to as Israel’s incremental genocide against Palestinians do not move you to speak out, what will it take, I ask, to trigger your criticism of Israel?
Third, why is your government intent on criminalizing the actions of concerned Canadians who support the use of BDS as the only non-violent, legal tactic available to them – and to the Palestinian BDS Movement?
Political expediency notwithstanding, to remain wilfully silent in the face of the unrelenting, cruel oppression of a people over the past seven decades is to give Israel carte blanche to continue to do whatever it wants to the Palestinians.
In keeping with your efforts to encourage the flow of communication between Canadians and their government representatives, Helga and I look forward to your response to these questions.
Frank White & Helga Wintal, etc.