NDP cautiously differentiates itself from Tories and Grits on Palestinian human rights

Now that we know officially that a Canadian federal election will happen, Peter Larson’s posting is timely; I invite you to read his blog via the links provided. Also, news from Susiya is encouraging, too, as Jewish Voice for Peace today forwarded the following from Rabbis for Human Rights and Free Jerusalem:
“Thanks to the determined struggle led by the residents of Susiya, and the public pressure in which we all took part, we have come to believe that in the coming two weeks, there will not be demolitions in the village. At the same time, we will wait to hear about developments, and when the timing for a decision regarding the village’s future grows nearer, we will renew the public struggle.” (Click here.)

Canada Talks Israel/Palestine

dewar to nicholson on Susyia

As a federal election looms, Thomas Mulcair and Paul Dewar have taken positions on human rights for Palestinians in the last few weeks that differentiate them from both the Harper Conservatives and the Trudeau Liberals. Their statements are cautious, but positive. They will no doubt attract fierce criticism from the Israel lobby. More.

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In Susiya: ” ‘There is Another Way’ in Hebrew, Arabic and English.”

So read the placard at a demonstration yesterday in Susiya.

On Wed., 22 July 2015, the possibility was great that many of the structures of the Palestinian community of Susiya would be demolished. On the next day, I exchanged emails with Dianne, one of the Canadian Ecumenical Accompaniers (www.eappi.org) who is currently there; she wrote that a temporary reprieve seemed to arise… until Tues., 28 July 2015. Living with this uncertainty characterizes life across occupied Palestine.

In the meantime, many Israelis joined Palestinians and some internationals yesterday to stand with the Palestinians of Susiya. I invite you to read a recent blog posting by the Israeli, Adam Keller, titled, “A traffic jam in the middle of the desert”. The reference to “another way” comes from Keller’s posting. Click here.

What news? Local Palestinian Bazaar. Gideon Levy on the Israeli elections.

To experience a festival of culture, plan to drop into the Palestinian Bazaar on Sat., 14 Mar. 2015 in Edmonton. The event will be hosted by Humanserve International (click here). For details, click here.

Looking for insights about the upcoming Israeli government elections (17 Mar. 2015)? Plan to attend an event on 26 Mar. 2015 in Edmonton with Gideon Levy (click here). While placed in occupied East Jerusalem, in Jan. 2011, I heard him speak about the role of the Israeli media in the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine (click here).

Peace-minded people standing together.

“Since I have been here, I have heard from several Israelis and Palestinians working for a just peace, that it will be the international community that will force Israel to abide by international law. International pressure is what turned the tide against apartheid in South Africa. If each of you reading this blog committed to sending a letter or email to your Member of Parliament or better yet, went in and had a conversation with him or her  we might begin to shift the tide  here in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, so that Palestinians like Nofa and Musa might begin to have hope that there will be a home for them not only this winter but for the future as well.” (Debbie, click here)

Debbie, a Canadian Ecumenical Accompanier (EA), now placed in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem offers the above observation following the demolition of a family’s home in Sheikh Jarrah. Debbie and I live in the same part of the world and were both placed in East Jerusalem. I remember well the many peace-minded people, both the Palestinians who live in Sheikh Jarrah and the Israeli peace activists who would rally with those Palestinians weekly in Sheikh Jarrah. For the story of another family’s struggle, please see my posting from January 2011 (click here).

One peace-minded Israeli, Adam Keller, blogged this week about intense news arising from both parts of Jerusalem. He concludes by quoting a call for action:

“This night, November 1, there will  take place in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square a rally commemorating the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, rallying point for peace-minded Israelis. One of the announcements which landed in my message box states: “We can not forget the reasons why a Prime Minister was assassinated. We will  not settle for a vague condemnation of violence. We must speak out, loud and clear, say that this country must change direction, sign an agreement and put an end to the occupation which erodes and corrupts all that is good in our country.” (Adam Keller, click here)

We, in the international community, have a choice to act with hope. I invite you to follow Debbie’s blog (click here and then the Follow button). I also invite you to continue to seek out alternative news media like Adam Keller’s blog to learn more than what much of mainstream, western media broadcasts. We can stand with peace-minded Israelis and Palestinians to collectively create the international pressure to turn this conflict around.

Listen…to these voices…

that differ from the political-economic, dominant, ’empire’ voices of our time…

Listen to the Palestinians’ call for a just path to peace: here.

Listen to the Israelis who are calling their government to account: here.

Listen to Ecumenical Accompaniers like Jan in occupied East Jerusalem: here.

What does your voice say?

Please use your voice. As a Canadian, please contact your Member of Parliament (click here) and Foreign Minister John Baird and invite them to… Listen to these voices… to your voice…

If you are a member or friend of the United Church of Canada, please write to your General Council (GC) Representative (click here) and urge her or him to not only work toward the Implementation of the 41st General Council Motion on Palestine/Israel Education and Economic Action but also to call for the GC Executive to take that path NOW…toward “education and economic action” across the United Church of Canada and thereby across Canadian society… To raise awareness of illegal Israeli settlements and, through the clear labelling of products made in those settlements, to grow aware of the option of not purchasing those products… 

How is this irrelevant?

Canadian Foreign Minister, John Baird, has in effect declared that the internationally recognized Green Line is “irrelevant” (click here and here; commentary here and here). So, he had coffee with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (the Israeli government’s chief negotiator with the Palestinians) in East Jerusalem last week (click here); so what?

So… Baird disregarded international consensus on what is occupied territory and on Israel’s illegal annexation of East Jerusalem. He went along with Israeli government hopes that we might all forget that the status of Jerusalem is one of the “permanent status issues – borders, Jerusalem, settlements, refugees and water” (UN General Assembly media release, 12 Feb. 2010) yet to be resolved in terms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So…the line is named, green, based on the colour of the ink used in the 1949 armistice following the 1948 Nakba/Catastrophe (click here) or Israeli War of Independence (click here). I disagree with Baird’s suggestion that whether he meets on one side of the ‘street’ (known as Road No. 1 on Israeli government maps, one way to encourage people to forget that it’s the Green Line) or on the other is ‘just a matter of words’. On the west side of the line (in Israeli West Jerusalem), the municipal infrastructure is maintained. On the east side (in Israeli government occupied East Jerusalem), the municipal infrastructure is left to crumble by Israeli authorities. In addition, the fact that the Israeli Separation Barrier runs inside of the Green Line for 85% of its route (including within East Jerusalem as a high concrete wall) rather than along the Green Line violates international law (click here and here). The International Court of Justice (ICJ) (the principal judicial body of the United Nations) advised in 2004 that the sections of the Barrier that run inside occupied territory are illegal.

So…is Samer Issawi’s hunger speech…irrelevant? (click here)

So…is this call from liberal Jews and Israelis…irrelevant? (click here)

I remember this stark difference when I lived within a block of the Green Line, with occupied Palestinians, in 2010-2011. For reference, see how the Green Line runs between East and West Jerusalem: ocha_opt_the_closure_map_2011_12_21_jerusalem  . The dark red line on the map indicates the illegal path of the Israeli Separation Barrier. (For additional maps here).

So what?

P.S. I extend ‘thanks’ to I.C.L. Marshall for offering this response to this posting: “To the great shame of us, i.e. Canadians, John Baird, supported by Stephen Harper, pursue a policy that supports Israel’s occupation and unlawful behavior unconditionally. Such attitude will never bring peace and it concerns us all. We need to lobby the Canadian government to change their course. Please, write to Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister Baird to make it clear that Canadians are greatly disturbed by their policies and demands changes.
I.C.L. Marshall”

JLRT tracks on the Green Line - Jerusalem - 13 Feb. 2011 - Photo: Sherry Ann

The Green Line – between West Jerusalem on the left and occupied East Jerusalem on the right – 13 Feb. 2011 – Photo: Sherry Ann