Montreal, February 8, 2017 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) again implores the Trudeau government to publicly condemn yet another step in Israel’s dispossession of Palestinians from the West Bank. Right-wing coalition members of the Israeli government forced the bill, and it passed 60-52 in Israel’s parliament – the Knesset. Israel’s so-called “Regulation Bill” was slammed as a means to “legalize theft” of Palestinian land. “The Trudeau government’s ongoing silence on this, and other recent Israeli steps to dispossess Palestinians is unconscionable,” declared Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME.
Some critics of Israel’s bill call it the “Expropriation Bill,” since it retroactively legalizes government seizure of privately owned Palestinian land. For the Israelis, it will affect about 50 “settlements” and “outposts,” containing about 4000 housing units. While Israel calls these developments “settlements,” legal experts consider them “colonies”: illegal under Art. 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. [TW021] [AL2] The Palestinians affected have not been identified. This move by Israel’s government implies that it views itself as the sovereign power in the West Bank – something it has never formally asserted in the past. With such a move, many Israeli critics of the bill suggest that Israel would need to give Palestinians in the West Bank the right to vote in Israeli elections.
The bill is so controversial that even Israel’s attorney general, Avichai Mandelblit, has said that he will not defend the bill in court against accusations that it violates the Fourth Geneva Convention. Many believe it is a big step closer to Israel’s illegal annexation of the West Bank, and the bill has been condemned by many international leaders. UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov stated that the bill “Opens the potential for [Israel’s] full annexation of the West Bank and therefore undermines substantially the two-state solution.”
“The Trudeau government’s total silence and indifference to these unlawful developments is beyond ‘upsetting,’” argued Woodley. “It’s sad: sad that this government is so indifferent to human rights and Middle East justice or peace.” Palestinian leaders have expressed outraged at the bill, and have called for international sanctions on Israel for this new unlawful step. CJPME points out that the passage of this new law is just another in a series of moves by Israel to take advantage of a right-wing Trump government in the US. Since the beginning of the year, Israeli leaders have already announced plans for over 6000 illegal settlement homes.
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 CJPME at 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org
The whole or parts of this press release can be reproduced without permission.
– 30 –