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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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In Rachel Corrie verdict, Israel deals new blow to international law
The verdict on the 2003 killing of Rachel Corrie absolved Israel of any wrongdoing, essentially blaming the victim for her death. The trial revealed Israel’s approach to the most fundamental principles of international law, and especially to the duty to protect non-combatants.

By Jeff Halper

For those who hoped for a just verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, the American student and ISM activist killed by an Israeli bulldozer in Gaza in 2003 as she was defending a Palestinian home about to be demolished, this is a sad day. Not surprising, but still sad and bitter. The judge who decided the case, Oded Gershon, absolved the army of all blame, despite massive and internally contradictory testimony to the contrary. Moreover, he essentially blamed Rachel for her own death, commenting that a “normal person” would have run away from the bulldozer rather than confront it.

Palestinians and Israel human rights activists have learned that justice cannot be obtained through the Israeli judicial system. The Haifa District Court, in which the trial was held, could not have ruled other than how the state wanted. For the past 45 years of Israeli occupation, the Supreme Court has excluded from its rulings all reference to international humanitarian law and to the Fourth Geneva Convention in particular, which protects civilians living in conflict situations and under occupation. Only Israeli law applies in the Occupied Palestinian Territories – military law and orders – and the courts have restricted even that form of law by declaring that in instances of “security,” they defer to the military. As in Rachel’s case, the IDF thus has carte blanche to commit war crimes with impunity, with no fear of accountability or punishment.

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