CJPME: Canadian assistance to Palestinians must go beyond aid

bibeau.PNGMontreal, July 31, 2018 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the announcement of $50 million in Canadian aid to Palestinians on Monday by Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau.  CJPME points out, however, that the economic deprivation suffered by Palestinians is largely a result of Israel’s crippling military occupation of the Palestinian territories.  As such, in addition to the aid, CJPME calls on Canada to take more forceful diplomatic steps to encourage Israel to loosen and ultimately end its military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. 

“The World Bank has repeatedly reported that the Palestinian economy would flourish brilliantly if Israel’s brutal military occupation were lifted,” stated Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME.  Under UN Resolutions 242 (1967), Israel was supposed to withdraw militarily from the West Bank and Gaza, but it has nevertheless occupied and controlled these Palestinian territories in some fashion ever since.  In addition to suffering from regular destructive military incursions by Israel, Palestinian governance lacks 1) control over infrastructure, 2) free movement and access, 3) banking and taxation services, and 4) easy access to foreign markets and resources.

CJPME welcomes Canada’s new aid announcement and the immediate humanitarian needs and potential economic growth it can provide.  CJPME has also expressed support in the past for the Trudeau government’s resumption of aid to the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA.)  However, CJPME notes that the long-term prognosis for Palestinians will only be improved if Israel is compelled to stop its illegal colonization and collective punishment of the Palestinian territories.  “While this aid is most welcome, it unfortunately does nothing to address the debilitating status quo,” insists Woodley.

CJPME points out that there are numerous tactics the Canadian government could consider which would encourage Israel to stop and reverse its destructive colonial designs on the Palestinian territories.  Canada’s Green party, for example, has called for economic sanctions against Israel, and leader Elizabeth May has called for an arms embargo.  Canada’s NDP has also discussed policies to label or sanction imports from illegal Jewish-only colonies in the West Bank.  CJPME calls the Canadian government to consider such diplomatic pressure tactics to encourage substantive change “on the ground” on the part of the Israelis.  

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 Miranda Gallo, 438-380-5410
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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