No 1780 Posted by fw, September 18, 2016
I am in the process of reviewing the 360+ readers’ comments (as of today) submitted in response to Jeff Wheeldon’s controversial article As a Green, Why I Don’t Want My Party Embracing BDS Movement, published in The Tyee on September 15, 2016. To his credit, Jeff responded to many of his critics, so the bulk of the comments are his.
My reaction to comments by Jeff, his many critics, and his fewer supporters was frequently: “Is this assertion factually correct or responsibly informed?”
Exasperated by much of what was being passed off on both sides of the argument as fact or informed opinion regarding – in Jeff’s words – “the argument for adopting alignment with BDS as a policy of the Green Party”, I decided to review a few relevant documents in an attempt to separate fact and informed opinion from fiction in Jeff’s article and among a selection of the 360-odd readers’ comments.
Since the Green Party’s BDS resolution is the focus of the argument between Jeff and his critics, I decided to begin with a careful reading of it. Jeff might have helped matters along had he provided, in the opening to his article, the three essential elements of the resolution. Or, at the very least, a link to the actual BDS policy resolution on the GPC’s website.
Below is a reposting of the Green’s BDS policy resolution as it appears on the party’s website. When I have finished studying it and a few other BDS-related documents, I will post my critique of Jeff’s article.
Resolution Type: Policy
Submitter Name: Dimitri Lascaris, Justice Critic, Green Party of Canada Shadow Cabinet
WHEREAS Article 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to territory it occupies;
WHEREAS the International Court of Justice has ruled that Israel’s settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (“OPT”) violate international law;
WHEREAS GP14-P22 declares that the GPC “fully condemn [sic] all illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the [OPT] as undeniable obstacles to the Israel – Palestine peace-process”;
WHEREAS Israel has continued, since the adoption of G14-P22, to expand its settlements and to demolish Palestinian homes and other infrastructure in the OPT;
WHEREAS Canada and other nations have previously succeeded in ensuring respect for human rights through the use of economic and political sanctions, including in the case of South Africa.
WHEREAS the Liberal and Conservative parties recently supported a motion ‘condemning’ attempts by Canadians to promote the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement;
AND WHEREAS nothing in this resolution condones the use of force against innocent civilians or other human rights violations by either side in the conflict.
[Clause 1] BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT;
[Clause 2] BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.
[Clause 3] BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.
Related Discussion: [restricted access]
Alex Hill, Erin Davis, Menno Meijer, Lora Teuschler, Temara Brown, Colin Griffiths, Joe Foster, Constantine Kritsonis, Brian Smallshaw, Ghaith Hannibal, Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Kyle Lacroix, Kevin Labonte, Bonnie North, Melia Helson, Stacey Leadbetter, Corey Levine, Hugh Thorburn, Matthew Chisholm, Lora Picchi, Don McLeod, Lindsay Thompson, Mohammed Rajpar, Pamela Reid, Stefan Kleitsch, Mary Ann Hodge, Johan Hamels, Inge Stahl, Saul Bottcher, Will Sorrell, Sharon Danley, Don Scott
When Palestine was partitioned in 1947, the U.N. allocated approximately 1/3 of Palestinian territory to the Palestinian people, although they constituted approximately 2/3 of the population.
Since 1947, the Palestinian people have never exercised true sovereignty over the territory the U.N. had allocated to them. Moreover, due primarily to Israeli settlement construction in the OPT, the land Palestinians occupy has shrunk dramatically since 1947.
Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits occupying powers from transferring parts of their own civilian population to territory they occupy. Accordingly, the U.N. Security Council has declared that Israeli settlements in the OPT constitute “a flagrant violation” of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Moreover, in a 2004 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice ruled that Israel’s settlements have been established in breach of international law.
Despite the clear illegality of Israeli settlements in the OPT, Israel has continued to construct and expand such settlements up to the current time and has given no indication that it will cease doing so in the foreseeable future. Moreover, the current Israeli Prime Minister has made numerous statements that raise serious questions as to his commitment to a two-state solution. Thus, Palestinians’ prospects for achieving a sovereign Palestinian state through bilateral negotiations with Israel are remote.
This leaves only one, non-violent option to the Palestinian people for realizing their dream of self-determination within their lifetimes. That option is BDS. Further, because BDS seeks to achieve Palestinian self-determination through economic and political sanctions rather than the use of force, BDS is entirely consistent with the GPC’s commitment to peace and mutual respect.
However, should Israel implement a permanent ban on settlement construction and expansion and enter into good faith negotiations with the Palestinian authorities with a view to the creation of a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state, then the GPC should re-evaluate whether its support for BDS is necessary to achieve Palestinian self-determination.
For nearly 70 years, the Palestinian people have been without a sovereign state. It is time for international community to give to the Palestinian people a realistic and non-violent path to self-determination. In the current circumstances, BDS is, in the view of the submitter, the only such path.
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