With invasion of Rafah, help us pressure Parliament to investigate Canada’s military trade with Israel

In contempt of world condemnation and its obligations under international law, Israel began its reckless and immoral offensive against hundreds of thousands of Palestinian civilians in Rafah, Gaza.  CJPME has condemned Israel's actions both publicly and privately with members of Parliament.  We must do everything we can to pressure Canada and Israel to end the reckless carnage. 

Months after Parliament voted to stop sending arms to Israel, Canadians are still left in the dark about our arms trade with Israel. After approving a skyrocketing number of weapons exports in the first months of Israel’s genocidal war, Foreign Affairs Minister Joly still refuses to provide the public information about these sales: how many weapons were sent to Israel, what were they, how were they used, and whether Canada violated international law. Canadians deserve answers.

We now know that we cannot trust Minister Joly at her word, and Canadians need to know the truth.

Please click here to demand that Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and International Development Committee (FAAE) launch a study into Canada’s arms trade with Israel and whether it breaches the Arms Trade Treaty. Your email will be sent to all Members of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. The Trudeau government must stop hiding Canada’s arms trade with Israel!

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Since October 7, Canada approved a record-breaking $28.5 million worth of military exports to Israel, despite the International Court of Justice (ICJ) finding that Israel is plausibly committing genocide. Due to a reporting loophole, this does not even count the military gear we sell to the United States that may be subsequently sold to Israel or sent as military aid.

It is important for Parliament to investigate these arms sales, as well as past exports prior to October 7. After all, Canada’s arms exports may have been in breach of international law long before this current assault on Gaza. For years, Canada has armed Israel’s illegal occupation and enabled illegal Israeli settlements, considered war crimes in both Canadian and international law.

On February 13, 2024, Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee approved a motion compelling Global Affairs Canada to release all documents related to Canadas military sales to Israel going back to 2006. While this was a nearly unprecedented and positive step, we are concerned that this may go nowhere unless the Committee actually starts a study of Canada’s military relationships with Israel and Palestine, makes all of the evidence public, and invites civil society experts to testify. Outrageously, the Canadian government has so far refused to provide this information as directed, missing the deadline to release the documents, as noted by NDP foreign affairs critic Heather McPherson.

This secrecy is a long-standing problem. Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has repeatedly spread disinformation and misdirected Canadians concerning our military trade with Israel: she claimed that no “full weapons systems” were sent, and absurdly said that only non-lethal weapons were sold, ignoring the transfer of weapons parts or components. Despite telling Parliament on March 18 that she stopped approving new permits to Israel since January, she still hasn’t sent a notice to exporters announcing any policy. We also do not know if Joly is actually enforcing a one-way arms embargo, or if she is introducing loopholes that make her commitments worthless.

Therefore, even though Parliament voted on March 18 to end arms transfers to Israel, we still need Parliament to scrutinize this Minister’s current actions and previous record, as we cannot trust her at her word. This is especially urgent, given that Canada may be violating its obligations under the Arms Trade Treaty as well as its responsibilities to prevent genocide and other war crimes under international human rights and humanitarian law. We also need to ensure that once Israel’s genocide against Palestinians is over, Canada doesn’t return to quietly arming Israel’s colonization efforts. We cannot wait until Israel’s genocidal campaign is over before studying our military trade with Israel.

Canada’s approach to Israel and Palestine has shown a real disconnect from realities on the ground. It is more than troubling that Canada has maintained an military alliance with Israel despite its blatant contravention of international law, and the clear evidence that it is committing genocide in Gaza. Canada urgently needs a strategic reorientation to Israel, and this study is one way that we can challenge the policy failures of the current and past governments.

Thank you!

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