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Canadian parliamentary committee to study human rights situation in Palestine and Israel

Crescent International

Perhaps the first in many decades, a motion to study how Canada can support human rights in Palestine and Israel was approved by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development.

The May 16 motion, brought forward by NDP Member of Parliament Heather McPherson was approved by a vote of 6-3 with one abstention.

Believed to be the first of its kind in decades, the motion was supported by the Bloc Québécois and most Liberal MPs on the committee.

The study will explore “the actions that Canada should take” to promote human rights and international law in the region.

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle (CJPME), a Montreal-based human rights organization, thanked MP McPherson for her leadership in bringing this motion forward.

“A parliamentary study on human rights in Palestine and Israel is long overdue, and we hope that this will provide a foundation for a major shift in Canadian policy towards the region,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME.

Unfortunately, Canada has a chequered history when it comes to defending the human rights of Palestinians.

Last week (May 9-12) when Israel unleashed its murderous air strikes on the besieged Gaza Strip yet again, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

Israel murdered 33 Palestinians, the majority of them women and children, and injured scores of others during the five-day onslaught.

Israel deliberately targeted apartment buildings to cause maximum civilian casualties, especially children.

Yet Canada’s sunny ways prime minister could not bring himself to condemn zionist criminality.

Based on this track record that is common to all western rulers, what chance is there that the Canadian parliamentary committee would be able to act in a fair manner?

In its statement, CJPME urged the committee to reach out to Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders and experts with on-the-ground experiences when building its list of witnesses, and to prioritize Palestinian voices as the group which is oppressed and marginalized.

“For this study to be meaningful, MPs must seek out testimony directly from Palestinians and human rights groups working on the ground in Palestine, who can speak to the realities of occupation and apartheid,” added Bueckert.

Israeli crimes have been fully documented by Amnesty International, the former UN Special Rapporteur for Palestine, Professor Michael Lynk (a Canadian) as well as his successor Francesca Albanese and the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem.

Western politicians beholden to the Israeli lobby become tone deaf when it comes to zionist crimes.

Even when Israel criminalized six leading Palestinian human rights organizations in October 2021, Canada remained uniquely muted.

The six groups are: Addameer, Al-Haq, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Defence for Children International – Palestine (DCI-P), the Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), and the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees (UPWC).

Two months later (December 2021), the legal team representing the six organizations sent a letter to the Israeli authorities demanding that they reveal all of the evidence forming the basis of the designations.

“There is no justice, fairness or due process for the organizations, without access to these materials in their entirety in order to defend themselves,” their legal team said in the letter.

The outlaw zionist regime has no evidence; its only recourse is to brute force.

It is secure in the knowledge that no western regime will censor it because like them, it is also a colonial settler entity.

So, the question that needs to be asked is whether the Canadian committee that plans to study the human rights situation in Palestine and Israel will have any greater impact on the Canadian government even if it exposes zionist crimes?

For the record, here is the final text of the passed motion, as amended:

“That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), and in light of recent events in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza, the committee should conduct a study on the actions Canada should take to foster peace, protect civilians, combat terrorism, and uphold respect for human rights and international law in the region; that the study consists of at least four meetings; that relevant ministers be invited to appear and that the committee invite witnesses from Canadian civil society, international humanitarian organizations, as well as Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations and peacebuilding organizations; that the committee reports its findings to the House; and that pursuant to Standing Order 109 the government table a comprehensive response to this report.”

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