Baird’s diplomatic blunder flouts international law


Montreal, April 15, 2013  — Late last week, it was revealed that on Tuesday, April 9, Foreign Minister John Baird met with Israeli cabinet minister Tzipi Livni in East Jerusalem. Under international law, East Jerusalem is occupied Palestinian territory. Most nations, including Canada, do not recognize Israel’s unilateral military annexation of East Jerusalem, and therefore refuse to meet there with Israeli politicians, out of respect for international law and Palestinians. Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns Baird’s blunder.

The Palestinian Authority was so offended by Baird’s move that it summoned Canadian Envoy Katherine Verrier-Frechette “to express its strong dissatisfaction over the meeting.”  “By meeting with Livni in occupied Palestinian territory, Baird displays no diplomatic savvy and an appalling lack of commitment to international law,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME notes that repeated UN resolutions have urged Israel to end its 65-year long occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem. Palestinians and the governments of most nations expect that the capital of a future Palestinian state will be East Jerusalem, due to the historical ties Palestinians have with Jerusalem.

CJPME urges MPs of all political stripes to press Baird to apologize to Palestinians for his diplomatic blunder, and to reconfirm Canada’s long-standing policy regarding East Jerusalem. CJPME urges opposition MPs to ask the government if his meeting in East Jerusalem signals a change in Canada’s position regarding Israel’s control of East Jerusalem.  CJPME notes that all Canadian federal political parties—including the ruling Conservatives—consider East Jerusalem occupied Palestinian territory.

CJPME reminds MPs that Israel’s military control and ongoing usurping of Palestinian land in East Jerusalem has made the lives of East Jerusalem’s Palestinians miserable and precarious. Thousands of East Jerusalem Palestinians have lost their homes to Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli military. The homes of East Jerusalem’s remaining Palestinians are overcrowded and in ill-repair due to the Israeli authorities’ refusal to grant them building permits.

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

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