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Home arrow Canada and the Middle East arrow Canada denounces Palestinian application to ICC
Canada denounces Palestinian application to ICC PDF Print E-mail
Jan 26, 2015 at 01:19 PM

Hon John Baird again adopts Israeli position

International Criminal Court

The International Criminal Court, of which Canada was a founder, is based in the Hague. Its motto is "Peace through justice". The objective of the ICC is to bring criminals to justice when the local legal system proves unable do so. Apparently Canada believes this legal recourse should be available to Africans and Bosnians, but not to Palestinians.

Hon. John Baird has again taken a roundhouse swing at the Palestinian Authority, this time for applying to join the International Criminal Court.

In a front page article appearing the Ottawa Citizen on January 3, Baird slammed the move as "provocative" .

Baird has completely embraced Israel's position that joining the ICC would be "unhelpful" to a negotiated solution leading to Palestinian statehood. Palestinian statehood, he said in a press release, should come about as a product of negotiation with Israel.

In other words, the Palestinians should give up their current legal rights in pursuit of the ever vanishing goal of a "two state solution".

Baird's position effectively means that statehood for the Palestinians is subject to a perennial veto by Israel, which already has its own statehood. Since most of Israel's current political leaders, including Prime Minister Netanyahu, President Rivlin, and opposition powerhouse Naftali Bennett have all said they could not "imagine' a Palestinian state, that could take a very long time.

Unfortunately, it appears that neither of Canada's opposition parties have dared to criticize Baird's statement or show any difference in their position

According to the same Citizen article, NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said that while the Palestinian bid is "understandable" and "entirely legal", it "isn't helpful to the goal of a getting a negotiated settlement".

Liberal critic Marc Garneau said that the Palestinian's "unilateral" action gets in the way of a 'two state solution".

A principled position, which neither seemed willing to take, would be to unconditionally endorse the right of Palestine to join the ICC. If Israel has not committed any crimes, it should have no reason to fear the ICC. The ICC motto is "peace through justice". Canada should support that objective.

Any readers who want to write Mr. Baird, Mr. Dewar or Mr. Garneau are urged to do so.
Hon. John Baird john.baird@parl.gc.ca

If you do write them, please make sure to copy all your friends. The best way to influence any of these gentlemen will be through changing the minds of their constituents.

Peter Larson
Chair,
National Education Committee on Israel/Palestine
National Council on Canada-Arab Relations
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Discussing Hamas with Gazan Expatriate Samah Sabawi

I caught up with Samah Sabawi on August 1st, 26 days into the Israeli assault on Gaza. Samah is a Canadian Palestinian with family roots in Gaza. I wanted to ask her views on the current situation in Gaza and particularly on the role Hamas is playing. She is a playwright, a policy advisor to AlShabaka and is former public advocate for Australians for Palestine. She was for many years a media spokesperson for National Council for Canada Arab Relations (NCCAR) and moved in 2009 to Australia where her parents and many other members of her Palestinian family have found refuge.

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