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Home arrow Canada and the Middle East arrow Death of a Palestinian minister: How should Canada respond?
Death of a Palestinian minister: How should Canada respond? PDF Print E-mail
Dec 12, 2014 at 12:00 AM

Ziad Abu Ein choked by Israeli police
Palestinian Government Minister Ziad Abu Ein scuffles with Israeli police at a demonstration on December 9th a few moments before his death. The demonstrators were trying to plant trees around an illegal Israeli settlement.
 

Imagine for a moment that the picture above had been taken in Ukraine. That the man being throttled had been an unarmed minister in the Ukrainian government. That he had been in a peaceful demonstration opposing Russian occupation of Ukraine. That he had been beaten and teargassed by Russian troops. That he subsequently died. What would have been the reaction of Foreign Minister John Baird?

Do you think he would have turned away or shrugged his shoulders? Or would he have been incensed and immediately called for justice?

But this is not a hypothetical case. The minister was Palestinian, and he died at the hands of Israeli police. What was Mr. Baird’s response? What should Mr. Baird’s response be?

To read my “open letter” to Hon. John Baird, check out my blog post here:

http://canadatalksisraelpalestine.ca/2014/12/12/death-of-a-minister-open-letter-to-hon-john-baird/

I also sent a copy to opposition leaders. If you agree with me, you might want to write your own letter to Mr. Baird. And copy the other parties as well.

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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