Montreal, June 3, 2014 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)—a grass-roots citizens’ group with 45,000 adherents—welcomes the formation of a unity government that includes the two largest Palestinian political parties — Fatah and Hamas. The new government was sworn in yesterday, June 2. Israel’s right-wing coalition government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has already announced it will retaliate by withholding taxes it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, which will make it difficult for the Palestinian Authority to deliver health care and education services.
“Overcoming the division and rivalry that have limited Palestinians’ ability to negotiate effectively with Israel is a positive development. However, it is apparent that Netanyahu is not yet ready to make peace. He did not negotiate in good faith with the Palestinian government when it represented Fatah only, and now he is unwilling to negotiate with the new broader-based government,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME believes that consistent strong international pressure will be needed to oblige Israel to get back to the bargaining table.
“It is particularly hypocritical for Netanyahu to get outraged over the Fatah’s willingness to sign a unity agreement with Hamas, given that Netanyahu himself conducted negotiations with Hamas, with Egyptian mediation,” adds Woodley. The Netanyahu government reached at least two agreements with Hamas: the prisoner exchange deal in 2011 and the ceasefire agreement in 2012. CJPME notes that healing the rift between Fatah and Hamas greatly increases the chance that any potential Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement will be able to win the support of most Palestinians.
CJPME reminds Canadian MPs of all stripes that many credible analysts, including former US President Jimmy Carter, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and the EU have welcomed the unity government. Moreover, within Israel, even figures such as former Mossad chief Efraim Halevy have repeatedly urged Netanyahu to negotiate with Hamas.
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