Concerning the Palestinian election
Statement of Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace Halifax, Nova Scotia
February 9, 2006
Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace calls for the immediate recognition by the government of Canada of the legally elected government of the Palestinian people. We urge the government of Canada also to insist that the government of Israel enter into negotiations with the Palestinian Authority for a settlement of the long standing grievances of the Palestinians and to put an end to the violence and killing that plagues both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. We urge that both sides agree to an immediate cease-fire and that Israel negotiate the withdrawal of its remaining troops and all of its settlements from the illegally occupied territories in the West Bank and Gaza. Israel must also agree to tear down its so-called "Separation Fence" which imprisons and divides the Palestinian population and which is referred to by the rest of the world as Israel's "Apartheid Wall".
The refusal of Israel and other governments to acknowledge Hamas as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people on the grounds that Hamas is a "terrorist organization" is hypocrisy. We note that while Hamas has been observing its own unilateral cease-fire for almost a year, Israel continues to terrorize Palestinian civilians with its attacks on refugee camps, housing blocks, farms and olive groves. Israel refuses to discontinue its program of assassination of Palestinian political leaders including those of Hamas. These are all war crimes as defined by international law. On the very day of the election, while the ballots were being counted, Israeli soldiers shot and killed a nine-year-old Palestinian girl. Why then do so many of our leaders insist on labeling only Palestinians as terrorists?
It is argued that Hamas refuses to recognize the State of Israel. Yet, the State of Israel won't even tell the rest of the world where its borders are. Israel, alone among nations, refuses to define its territorial extent. Where does the State of Israel begin and end? What territory would Hamas be acknowledging if it recognized the State of Israel? Surely if we are asking Hamas to recognize the State of Israel, shouldn't we also require that the State of Israel tell us where its boundaries are?
The Israeli government is threatening to withhold from the Palestinian Authority tax money collected by Israel and held by Israel in trust for the Palestinian Authority. We urge the Government of Canada to demand that Israel unconditionally release these funds that rightfully belong to the Palestinian people.
Hamas received the overwhelming support of the Palestinian population in free and fair elections. That population has been suffering for decades under a cruel and inhuman occupation. It's high time that Canada and other democratic nations insist that Israel immediately enter into negotiations with Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Canada should support an effort to apply sanctions against Israel should it refuse to negotiate with the legally elected representatives of the Palestinian people.
Canadians, Arabs and Jews for a Just Peace (CAJJP) is an organization of Halifax residents devoted to the achievement of a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Our organization consists of Arabs, Jews and other Canadians who see the turmoil in the Middle East and insist that there must be a better way.
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