Canadian foreign minister calls out Israel’s judiciary reform and ‘unilateral actions’ that undermine peace

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Taghreed Saadeh

Despite the widespread Canadian domestic appeal of the Canadian Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau and all the tolerance of the far-right government in Israel, among them was last year the publication of a landmark report by Amnesty International confirming the Palestinian people’s long-standing accusation that Israel The crime of apartheid is committed in the areas under its control. The advocacy group Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) revealed last fall that the Trudeau government rejected the report’s findings without bothering to identify specific evidence to do so.

Recently,the Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly broke her silence after witnessing a distortion regarding her conversation with her counterpart Eli Cohen and the head of the Foreign Ministry of Israel, which she held last Thursday. And it issued a statement after Cohen distorted what came in their call to clarify the Canadian position regarding legal reforms in Israel and regarding unilateral measures with regard to the Palestinians.

Political observers said the libral government have an advance step but it will not change the government policy toward Israel.

The statement said, Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly is pushing Israel to drop its planned reform of the country’s judiciary after two months of mass protests.

Joly spoke by phone Thursday with her Israeli counterpart Eli Cohen. Ottawa’s official readout of their conversation says that “Joly underscored Canada’s support of democracy, the rule of law and the institutions that uphold them.”

Canadian Media published a Global Affairs Canada source familiar with the conversation said Joly specifically noted that Ottawa is keeping a close eye on Israel’s judicial reform.
“She also conveyed that Canada views dialogue and consensus-building as critical tools in driving change that is supported by the people,” the source said.

Ottawa’s readout says Joly also called out “unilateral actions that jeopardize efforts for peace,” such as Israel’s expansion of settlements that are illegal under international law.

“Joly voiced Canada’s deep concerns over the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the West Bank and stressed the need to engage in meaningful actions to restore calm and ease tensions,” the readout says.

For decades, Canada has advocated for a two-state solution that would see the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

A series of Palestinian attacks last spring led to a year of violent clashes and Israeli raids in the West Bank, while right-wing Israelis continue to expand settlements into occupied territory.

Last week in Ottawa, Norwegian Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt said the conflict is now worse than it has been in three decades and many developing countries find it hypocritical for states to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine without calling out Israeli settlements.

“They focus a lot on double standards,” she said. “We need to be very firm when it comes to occupation everywhere.”

Earlier this month, pro-Palestinian activists criticized three Canadian senators for inviting a right-wing politician to Canada during their visit to Israel.

Amir Ohana, the speaker of the Israeli parliament, has caused controversy by claiming in media interviews that Muslims are prone to “cultural murderousness.” As former public safety minister, he modified Israel’s COVID-19 vaccination priority list to exclude prisoners who are Palestinian.

Senate Speaker George Furey and Conservative Senate Leader Don Plett would not comment on the criticism, but unaffiliated Sen. Patti LaBoucane-Benson said the group urged Israelis to work toward peace.

“We worked with consular officials in an effort to hear diverse perspectives while managing logistical and security considerations,” she said in a statement to The Canadian Press at the time, adding the trio intended to meet with Palestinian officials but were not able to do so.

On Thursday, Israel had its own criticism of Canadian policies.

Ottawa’s readout noted that Joly and her counterpart also discussed “security threats by the Iranian regime.” Israel was more specific.

While Israel has not published its own readout of the call, Cohen wrote on Twitter that the two discussed Hezbollah as well as Iran’s nuclear capabilities, and he urged her to list the Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror group.

During the violent twelve months of 2022, the Trudeau government failed to offer any sign of substantive pushback against Israel’s actions, and indeed has continued to arm Israel to the tune of $26 million per year.

Canada has been accused of maintaining double standards as it has provided enthusiastic support for investigations into Russia’s war crimes in Ukraine, but withholds support for such investigations into Israel.

In a flash report on August 7, the Canadian staff warned senior Global Affairs Canada officials — including a government unit tasked with monitoring “the safety and security of Canadians, Canadian missions or Canadian interests abroad” — that Ben-Gvir had provoked violent attacks on Palestinian civilians in Jerusalem by marching toward the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The report noted that during the provocation, Israeli forces arrested AFP photographer Ahmad Gharabli, while video footage on social media showed “violent assaults taking place by right-wing nationalists against Palestinian residents and journalists.” The situation had become so dangerous that the Old City in Jerusalem was placed “off limits” for Canadian embassy staff, and “out of an abundance of caution,” staff in Ramallah were to travel in “[armored vehicles] only for official business.”

Earlier this month, the new Israeli government launched punitive measures against Palestinians over a UN request for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to give its opinion on Israel’s occupation of Palestine. When Canada criticized Israel’s retaliation, it did so in a separate statement from the ninety other countries that condemned the move, using watered-down language that did not call for Israel’s measures to be reversed and portrayed the actions as being directed against the “Palestinian Authority” rather than the “Palestinian people.”

Late week, Joly tweeted a statement that indirectly condemned the “violence,” and mourned attacks on Israeli civilians at a Jerusalem synagogue. Joly described the former — the attack on Palestinians — as “recent events in Jenin” and named the latter — the attack on Israelis — as a “horrific terrorist attack.” no concrete action has been announced to sanction Israel.”

Meanwhile, the nominally social democratic New Democratic Party (NDP), which last year signed an agreement to keep the Trudeau Liberals in power until 2025 in exchange for a means-tested dental care program, has proposed a thirteen-point plan for peace in Palestine. The plan includes calls for important measures such as suspending arms exports to Israel and ending all trade with illegal settlements. Unfortunately, the NDP’s agreement with the Liberals was silent on Palestine — and on foreign policy altogether — rendering its peace plan practically meaningless.

Pro Palestine in Canada ask the government to take action such as expelling Israel’s ambassador, suspending military exports, and ending all trade with illegal settlements In response to the Israeli far-right government against the Palestinians.

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