CJPME: Kerry’s use of “apartheid” re Israel marks major shift

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Montreal, April 28, 2014  —CJPME points out the significance of US Vice-President John Kerry’s frank assessment Friday of the implications of Israel’s scuttling of peace talks with the Palestinians. At a closed-door meeting April 25 of the Trilateral Commission, Kerry warned that Israel is running the risk of becoming an “apartheid state” by refusing to negotiate a two-state solution. This is the first time such a high-ranking US official has publicly used the term “apartheid” in reference to Israel. That Kerry has done so is indicative of world leaders’ deep frustration with the Netanyahu administration’s conduct, especially its escalating “settlement” building on Palestinian territory.

On Thursday, April 24, Israel declared that it was halting peace talks, allegedly in retaliation for Wednesday’s announcement that Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority (PA) governing in the West Bank, will be forming a unity government with Hamas, which governs in Gaza.  CJPME notes with dismay that Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister echoed Israel’s belligerence, rather than warning Israel of the perils of such intransigence, as Kerry has. “It is disappointing that Israel is playing outraged victim yet again, rather than agreeing to finally respect international law and negotiate in good faith.  It is still more reprehensible, and dangerous, that the Harper government is encouraging such bellicosity,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley.

CJPME notes that Hamas won the largest number of votes (44 percent) in the most recent elections in the occupied Palestinian territories, and 74 of the 132 seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council. For that reason, many credible analysts, including former US President Jimmy Carter and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as well as the EU have welcomed the announcement of the unity government accord. Moreover, within Israel, many knowledgeable figures whose commitment to Israel’s survival cannot be questioned, such as former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy, have repeatedly urged the Israeli government to negotiate with Hamas.

CJPME urges Canadian MPs to press all parties to the conflict to respect the Geneva Conventions, and to press Israel to halt the conduct driving the conflict. Specifically, MPs should press Israel to end the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, now in its 47th year, and Israel’s “settlement enterprise”, which violates international law and prevents any resolution of the conflict. CJPME also urges MPs to press for a just solution to the tragic situation of millions of Palestinians refugees languishing in refugee camps.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact Patricia Jean, 438 380 5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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