UNJPPI writes to Minister Freeland about the action by the Knesset to retroactively legalize under Israeli law over 4,000 settler homes and the ability to seize privately owned Palestinian land for settlement expansion and/or the creation of new illegal settlements.
The Honourable Chrystia Freeland P.C.,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
House of Commons,
Ottawa K1A 0A6
February 8, 2017
Dear Minister Freeland:
Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs. As Canadians, we are proud of our traditional international role of honest broker and peacemaker. We look forward to your leadership and trust these values will guide you as you help to set Canada’s foreign policy.
The United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel (UNJPPI) is a network of members and friends of the United Church of Canada who long for peace with justice for Palestinians and Israelis alike. Many of our members have direct experience in Palestine and Israel. Several have served as Human Rights observers in the West Bank. We believe a just and negotiated end to the occupation on the basis of international law and UN resolutions is a necessary condition for peace and stability throughout the Middle East.
We are writing to express our grave concern regarding actions taken by the government of Israel since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334. The Israeli government is deepening its 50-year long occupation of Palestinian territory and is demonstrating newfound contempt for its responsibilities as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention.
There are three key issues we wish to bring to the attention of your government:
- The action by the Knesset to retroactively legalize under Israeli law over 4,000 settler homes and the ability to seize privately owned Palestinian land for settlement expansion and/or the creation of new illegal settlements.
- The approval of over 6,000 new homes in illegal settlements.
- The Prime Minister has promised to build a new settlement.
These actions are not only impediments to peace and also shows distain for the action of the Security Council and for International Human Rights and Humanitarian Laws.
Credible Israeli and international human rights organizations as well as reputable media sources have collected stories and data over decades that make it obvious that the Israeli government has no intention of following international law or living up to its obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention as long as certain countries do not hold the government to account.
UNJPPI has publicly congratulated your government on the partial restoration of UNRWA funding and the appointment of Deborah Lyons, a highly respected civil servant, to serve as Canada’s Ambassador to Israel. Through these actions, it is apparent that your government is moving back toward Canada’s traditional position regarding Palestine and Israel.
Further, your government has stepped forward on the international stage and has claimed the role of honest broker and a nation committed to human rights and the rule of law. Therefore, will you take a stand against this action by Israel as you have against similar actions by Russia in the Crimea and Ukraine?
We look forward to your response.
Peace, Salaam, Shalom,
Rev. Steve Berube Rev. Marianna Harris
Co-chairs: United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel
- The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
- The Honourable Peter Kent, Foreign Affairs Critic, Conservative Party of Canada
- Hélène Laverdière, Foreign Affairs Critic, New Democratic Party
- Elizabeth May, Leader, Green Party of Canada
- Rhéal Fortin, Leader, Bloc Québécois