Monday, November 30, 2015

Trudeau government continues Harper's anti-Palestine votes at the UN

Last week the UN General Assembly held its annual vote on the "Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine". 155 countries votes yes, and 7 countries voted no: Australia Canada, Israel, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, and the United States. Votes on several other Palestine-related resolutions were similar; Canada either abstained or voted against all of them.

The votes were the first for Canada's new government led by Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The early anti-Palestine direction of the government should not be a surprise to those paying attention. In this election blog post I wrote about how Trudeau had praised Paul Martin's abandonment of Canada's support for the Palestine UN resolutions, and then-candidate (now rookie MP) Anthony Housefather had some pretty terrible things to say.

Housefather, along with another rookie Liberal MP Michael Levitt, has apparently not stopped, and one would assume has the permission of the Prime Minister's Office to continue defending Israel's atrocious human rights record. In this article, the only record of anything close to journalism I can find about Canada's votes on the Palestine resolutions in the UN this year (which speaks to a bigger problem about media not covering it), the two rookie MPs are quoted saying:

“We are pleased to recognize that the government of Canada led by Prime Minister Trudeau has demonstrated its continued support for Israel’s security, democracy, and stability by maintaining our country’s UN voting record on Israel,” they said in a statement Nov. 26. We will persist in opposing initiatives that vilify or single out Israel, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement. This round of voting underscores our firm commitment to support our ally Israel… We call upon the United Nations to stop this annual attempt to vilify and demonize Israel, and we hope this year will be the last year we need to vote on these resolutions.”

While some (non-Palestine-related) things Trudeau has done so far have impressed me, this vote is an inexcusable one that simply continues Stephen Harper's anti-human rights approach to Israel-Palestine. What is even worse is that no opposition MP from any party has said anything about it (I'm prepared to be corrected if someone knows otherwise).

What we are left with at the moment is the worst of all possibilities. We have a government actively opposing Palestinian human rights with no opposition willing to speak a word about it. I don't want that to be the case for the whole four years of Trudeau's first mandate, but I'm afraid it might be. It's the job of those of us who know what is going on to call the government out on these decisions when they are made and to call on the opposition parties to do something about it.


Here is some background on the annual UN resolution called the "Peaceful Settlement of the Question of Palestine":

In the UN's words, by adopting the resolution, "the Assembly reaffirmed the need to achieve a peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine. It called for the intensification of efforts by the parties, including through negotiations, with the support of the international community, towards the conclusion of a final peace settlement, as well as urging renewed international efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, based on the relevant United Nations resolutions; the terms of reference of the Madrid Conference, including the principle of land for peace; the Arab Peace Initiative adopted by the Council of the League of Arab States at its fourteenth session; the Quartet road map to a permanent two-State solution to the conflict; and existing agreements between the Israeli and Palestinian sides. It also called for the timely convening of an international conference in Moscow, as envisioned by the Security Council in resolution 1850 (2008), for the advancement and acceleration of the achievement of a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement."

Read the official UN press release here, which has recorded votes on this resolution and others related to Palestine that were debated and voted on at the UN General Assembly this year.

1 comment:

  1. In the same sense that the Cdn military spokesperson declared on Nov 10 that the bombing of Syria and Iraq were not affected by 'regime change' (aka election Oct 19) [bombing actually increased after Oct 19]-- the Trudeau gov't is manoeuvering for ending the aerial bombing, and will, I expect, bring the matter before parliament soon. He has already brought 'Canada is halting the bombing' before Obama, and today Hollande of France. Neither objected. So there is a lag time in the UN. There always is in diplomatic matters. Serves to keep the people perpetually dissapointed. And then, they pull rabbits out of hats. There is much tragic theatre going on here.