CJPME: Collective Punishment Against Palestinians Is A War Crime

Montreal, January 30, 2023 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is urging the Canadian government to strongly condemn Israel’s plans for collective punishment against Palestinians, following a week of heightened violence sparked by Israeli aggression. Israel’s far-right government is preparing to punitively target the family members of a Palestinian attacker who killed 7 Israelis in an East Jerusalem settlement, which took place one day after a deadly Israeli military raid on the Jenin refugee camp which killed at least 10 Palestinians. CJPME warns that Israel’s plan for collective punishment is prohibited under international law, and that such oppressive measures will only inflame further violence.

“Canada must condemn Israel’s illegal plans to arrest and deport Palestinians whose only crime is being related to someone who committed an attack,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “This is not about justice but about taking out revenge on innocent people. Unfortunately, Israel appears to be using recent violence as a pretext to dispossess Palestinians from their homes and revoke their citizenship status,” added Bueckert. CJPME urges Canada to address the root causes of violence, which is Israel’s ongoing military occupation, colonization, and apartheid practices.

Last week, Israeli actions in the occupied West Bank sparked a wave of violence. On Thursday, January 26, Israeli occupation forces killed 10 Palestinians during a military raid in the Jenin refugee camp which was condemned by UN rights experts. Among those killed were 61-year old Majida Obaid and 2 children, Wasim Amjad Aref Abu Jaes (age 16) and Abdullah Marwan Juma’a Mousa (age 17). During the attack a community centre was destroyed, an ambulance was shot, and medical teams were prevented from accessing the wounded. The following day, a Palestinian shot and killed 7 Israelis, including 14-year-old Asher Natan, in the East Jerusalem settlement of Neveh Yaakov. Violence continued over the weekend, with a second shooting in East Jerusalem which injured 2 Israelis, and a wave of revenge attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinian homes, vehicles and property across the occupied West Bank. A statement by Canadian foreign affairs minister Mélanie Joly condemned violence against civilians, including a reference to “recent events in Jenin,” but did not directly address Israeli actions.

In a retaliatory move, Israel’s security cabinet decided on Saturday to advance several measures that constitute collective punishment against the families of those who have committed attacks: these include the demolition of their homes, revoking their social security benefits, revoking their citizenship or residency rights, and deporting them. Collective punishment is prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which states that “no protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed.” CJPME further notes with alarm that Israel’s National Security Minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, is a supporter of the fascist Kahanist movement and has frequently incited violence and racism against Palestinians, raising serious concerns about the likelihood of his security forces committing severe violence against Palestinians in the coming days.

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: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East www.cjpme.org

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