One-sided Approach to Gaza is a Betrayal of Canadian
By Linda McQuaig
July 19, 2014 "ICH"
Certain minimal standards are expected of a national
leader in what is known as the ‘civilized world’.
One of those
standards would seem to be that, when massive
numbers of defenceless civilians are being killed, a
national leader should call for the killing to
about responsibility, blame, punishment,
repercussions, etc., can always follow. But surely
the first order of business — the one with moral
urgency — is to halt the killing of innocent people.
quite extraordinary, as well as appalling, that our
prime minister has steadfastly declined to join
other world leaders in calling for a halt to
Israel’s bombing of Gaza, which has killed more than
200 people and left more than 1,500 injured.
Stephen Harper asserted over the weekend
that “Canada is unequivocally behind Israel” — a
ringing endorsement uttered not long after Israeli
bombs ripped through a house in Gaza,
killing five children and thirteen other members
of an extended family, and also destroyed a centre
for the disabled, killing two.
from Harper seemed to be: Let the killing continue!
Harper is correct in saying Israel has a right to
defend itself. And the militant group Hamas is
criminally responsible for launching hundreds of
rockets into Israel in the past week with the intent
of causing death and destruction, killing one
Israeli so far.
lopsided nature of the death toll (200:1) highlights
the enormous power imbalance between the two sides —
one equipped with home-made rockets and no air
defence, and the other fielding the most
sophisticated laser-guided missiles and a
state-of-the-art defence system, backed up by
insists that Israel goes to great lengths to avoid
killing civilians. But Paul Heinbecker, a former
Canadian ambassador, noted on
CBC TV’s Power and Politics on Tuesday that
international law prohibits Israel from, for
instance, attacking a military target if it is
located in a densely populated building.
maintains that Israel notifies residents of its
impending attacks, but Heinbecker points out that
there is essentially nowhere to flee to safety in
Gaza — a tiny, poverty-stricken strip of land where
some 1.8 million people live crowded together,
trapped on all sides.
is striking about Harper’s intensely one-sided
approach is the way he resolutely avoids dealing
with the central fact of this decades-old conflict:
that millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and
Gaza have been living under Israeli military
occupation for more than forty-five years, and that
Israel has effectively annexed what used to be their
building settlements on it that now
accommodate more than 600,000 Israelis.
refusal to take any of this into consideration flies
in the face of Canada’s long-standing position on
the Mideast conflict — a position that still appears
on the Canadian government’s website.
Officially, according to the website,
Canada does not condone Israel’s military occupation
and supports UN resolution 242 calling for Israel to
withdraw to its 1967 borders. While you’d never know
it from listening to Harper, Canada still “supports
the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable,
democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian
official website further states that “Israeli
settlements in the occupied territories are a
violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention” and that
the “settlements also constitute a serious obstacle
to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting
these positions, updated on the website last
January, were developed under earlier Canadian
governments that recognized the land issue as
integral to a peaceful solution.
government hasn’t yet had the nerve to renounce
these positions, apparently fearful of drawing fresh
attention to its abandonment of Canada’s tradition
of support for the UN and our role as peacekeepers —
traditions many Canadians still revere.
his focus exclusively on the current bombing (and
only on the bombing by Hamas), Harper helps
divert attention from the real story behind the
conflict: the relentless takeover of Palestinian
statements that have received little notice (at
least here in Canada), Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu last week indicated that Israel
has no intention of ever giving up control of the
West Bank, where 2.5 million Palestinians live. In
the military occupation will continue. Israel’s
official “withdrawal” from Gaza in 2005 has resulted
in tighter, not looser, Israeli military control
over the territory.
are often asked to imagine the plight of Israelis,
who must endure indiscriminate rocket attacks. But
we’re rarely asked to imagine the plight of
Palestinians, who not only endure far more
devastating attacks with no place to hide, but also
watch as their land is slowly but inexorably taken
over — with the apparent support of seemingly
fair-minded people, like the Canadians.
most ordinary Canadians know little about all this.
They’re caught up in their daily lives, and trust
their government to represent their values and speak
for them in world matters.
Harper government, that trust couldn’t be more
of a National Newspaper Award, Linda McQuaig has
been a reporter for the Globe and Mail, a columnist
for the National Post and the Toronto Star. She was
the New Democrat candidate in Toronto Centre in
2013. She is the author of seven controversial
best-sellers, including Shooting the Hippo: Death by
Deficit and other Canadian Myths and It’s the Crude,
Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet. Her
most recent book (co-written with Neil Brooks) is
The Trouble with Billionaires: How the Super-Rich
Hijacked the World, and How We Can Take It Back.
You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org
2001-2014 the authors
Release Pro-Israel Ad Amid War In Gaza, But They
Don't Want Everyone To See It (VIDEO)
By Michael Bolen
July 19, 2014 "ICH"
The Huffington Post Canada --- As the
conflict in Gaza escalates, the Conservatives
have released a dramatic new ad that highlights the
party's staunch support for Israel, but it seems
they aren't looking for a wide audience.
"Through Fire and Water", the web commercial
features Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Foreign
Affairs Minister John Baird speaking about Canada's
friendship with Israel interspersed with footage of
the PM's recent trip to Israel. The music
accompanying the ad is reminiscent of tracks used in
the video have been disabled and the clip was
originally "unlisted", which means YouTube did not
display it in search results or on any of the
website's public pages. Essentially, you needed to
be sent a direct link in order to access the video.
You couldn't even find it on the
Conservative's YouTube page.
Conservative communications director Cory Hann told
HuffPost that publishing the video unlisted was an
"administrative error." The video is no longer
unlisted. Hann also pointed out that the clip was
shared by the party on
Facebook. Baird tweeted a link to the ad and
Harper retweeted it.
A link in
the video's comments directs to a
fundraising page for the Conservative Party.
Conservative pundit and consultant Gerry Nicholls,
who worked with Harper at the National Citizens
Coalition, told Yahoo! News the
video is aimed primarily at Canada's Jewish
community but also at the Tory base, which is
the Israel issue cuts well for the Conservative, in
that it's an issue that unites the Tories but
divides both the NDP and Liberals. If either NDP
leader Thomas Mulcair or Liberal leader Justin
Trudeau try to match Harper's pro-Israel rhetoric it
might alienate part of their rank and file,"
Nicholls said. "So Harper basically owns this issue
and he's making the most of it."
this week former Liberal MP
Omar Alghabra attacked the Conservatives for
playing politics with the conflict in Gaza.
"The Conservatives are shameless and disgusting,"
Alghabra said. "There is no limit to their ugly
politics and no cause, no matter how tragic or
serious it is, they are unwilling to exploit."
made the comments after the Tories attacked him for
a Facebook post he made saying his thoughts and
prayers were with the Palestinian civilians caught
in the "blind and cruel bombing." Aghabra later
edited the post to express concern for civilians on
Costas Menegakis attacked Alghabra for the post but
also criticized Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau for
not "standing with Israel."
Trudeau released a video with the title
"We Have Israel's Back." On Tuesday, Trudeau
condemned Hamas for violating a ceasefire agreement
and launching rocket attacks on civilians.
the right to defend itself and its people. Hamas is
a terrorist organization and must cease its rocket
attacks immediately,” Trudeau said in a statement.
Liberals and NDP have called for negotiations that
might lead to a cessation of hostilities.
Liberals have yet to comment on Israel's ground
offensive. Trudeau is currently away on vacation.
Conservatives have long voiced support for Israel
while criticizing the Hamas government in Gaza.
the week Baird slammed Hamas for violating the
ceasefire. "It is a conflict between an
international terrorist organization and the Jewish
state," he said Tuesday. "Hamas started this
bloodshed. Hamas can end it."
he regrets the loss of life in the region and feels
the sympathy everyone should feel toward the
innocent victims of the conflict, but said Israel
has been left with no choice but to defend itself.
Baird attacked UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Navi Pillay for criticizing Israel's rocket
attacks on Gaza.
Canada was among the nine countries that voted
against granting Palestine official status as a
non-member state at the United Nations. Many
Canadians wrote to the Conservatives to express
their outrage at the move, with many complaining
that the government
does not represent the views of Canadians on the
year Harper became the first Canadian prime minister
to speak to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
During the trip. Harper was feted with an honorary
university degree, as well as a tour of a bird
sanctuary that will bear his name. He also visited
the West Bank and pledged $66 million in aid for the
launched a ground offensive on Thursday after weeks
of rocket attacks from Gaza.
More than 25 Palestinians were dead as of Friday
morning, including an infant, two children and a
70-year-old woman. One Israeli soldier died in the
operation and several others were wounded.
files from The Canadian Press