CJPME Applauds Committee Vote to Study Arms Exports to Israel

Montreal, February 13, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the decision of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee to study Canada’s arms export permits to Israel. Yesterday, the committee unanimously adopted a motion brought forward by MP Heather McPherson to release documents on Canada’s military exports to Israel, going all the way back to 2006. CJPME welcomes this move as an important first step towards public transparency and accountability, as it will put scrutiny on the Canada-Israel arms trade for the first time. CJPME further demands that all compelled documents must also be made available to the public.

“We are thrilled to see that Canada’s military trade with Israel will be investigated by Parliament for the first time, allowing a better assessment of the risk that these exports will be used to violate international law,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “This is a massive victory for the movement for justice in Palestine, which has been pushing for greater transparency on exports. Ultimately, we believe that Canada should suspend all military trade with Israel at least until the International Court of Justice rules on the genocide case brought by South Africa, and Israel ends its occupation of Palestinian territory. Canada must follow the example of Italy and Spain by imposing an arms embargo to ensure our weapons parts, components, and munitions are not used by Israel to further slaughter Palestinians,” added Bueckert.

For years, CJPME has been advocating for a parliamentary study to determine whether past and current Canadian arms exports have been used against civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or in airstrikes on Gaza. CJPME has escalated this push since the recent war on Gaza last October, joined by growing calls from civil society and political parties for an arms embargo on Israel.

Canada approved a shocking $28.5M worth of military exports to Israel between October-December 2023, exceeding or matching the annual total of the highest years on record ($27.8M in 2021 and $28.7M in 1987) in under three months. The export of goods in categories related to military aircraft, explosives, and ground vehicles, raises the significant possibility that Canadian technology or components are likely directly implicated in Israeli airstrikes and other indiscriminate attacks on civilians and infrastructure in Gaza. CJPME has criticized the Canadian government for issuing misleading statements to obfuscate these exports, including the claim by Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly that "there [have] been no weapons sent under my watch" and that Canada is only exporting “non-lethal” goods.

“The Foreign Affairs Minister has been deceitful with Parliament and has misdirected the public because she is scared of the truth,” said Bueckert. “This government has been trying to hide the fact that it has permitted multinational corporations based in Canada to benefit from acts of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza. This study will show that Joly lied to put corporate profits before human rights.”

In part, the motion passed by the Foreign Affairs Committee orders Global Affairs Canada to:

“produce all documents, briefing notes, memorandums and emails within the department including the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ Office, and between the department and the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office related to the granting of any export or brokering permits for military goods and technology to Israel between 2006 and 2024, within 30 days of the adoption of this motion[.]”

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

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

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