CJPME: Canada not doing its share to fund UNRWA

Montreal, March 28, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME)— a grassroots Canadian organization with over 43,000 supporters—today expressed deep disappointment over Canada’s paltry contributions to the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2012 and 2013. “Canada has become the developed world’s ‘slacker skinflint’ when it comes to UNRWA funding,” asserts CJPME President Thomas Woodley. CJPME notes that Canada has not contributed a penny since 2008 to UNRWA’s General Fund, which finances essential educational and health services for Palestinian refugees.  CJPME believes that Canada ought to contribute at least $18.8 million to the General Fund in 2013 – 2.83 percent, as it did in 2008. Continue reading




CJPME: Canada must do more to help Syrians, especially refugees

Montreal, March 26, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) today released a detailed set of urgent concrete recommendations for Canada’s response to the Syrian civil war. CJPME has proposed the following: a) More substantial contributions to UN humanitarian relief for both refugees and internally displaced; b) Resettlement in Canada of 30,000 Syrian refugees and 10,000 Palestinian refugees normally resident in Syria; c) Fast-tracking of family-class and independent class immigration applications from Syrians and from Palestinian refugees normally resident in Syria; d) Robust Canadian support for referral of human rights violations by all parties to the Syrian conflict to the International Criminal Court; e) Vigorous promotion of a non-military solution to the crisis; f) Stringent mechanisms to prevent the use of Canadian weapons by any of the parties to the crisis and to stem the flow of arms into Syria. Continue reading




CJPME shares frustration of many over Obama visit to Middle East

Montreal, March 25, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is disappointed that during his recent Middle East visit, President Obama failed to insist that Israel halt its violations of international law and fundamental human rights. Obama made weak statements, categorizing Israel’s illegal “settlements” as “not constructive” and suggesting Israeli “settler” violence should not go unpunished. However, he failed to insist that Israel respect international law and implement an immediate settlement freeze, although he did explicitly insist that the Palestinians not make a settlement freeze a pre-condition for negotiations.  He also urged Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to avoid “unilateral” steps such as appealing to the UN. Continue reading




Gaza children’s drawings coming to three New Brunswick centres

Montreal, March 13, 2013, 2012  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Solidarité Acadie-Palestine and Fredericton Palestine Solidarity are delighted to announce the launch of a new art exposition.  The exposition – entitled A Child’s View from Gaza – features art by children from Gaza and will soon be on exhibit in Moncton, Riverview and Fredericton. The exposition will be accessible to the public as follows: March 22 – April 2: Aberdeen Cultural Centre, 2nd floor Art Gallery (140 Botsford Street, Moncton, E1C 4X4) with a launch reception Friday, March 22, 5 to 7 pm. April 5–17: St. Paul's UnitedChurch, 404 Cleveland Ave, Riverview, E1B 1Y2, with a launch reception April 5, 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm. April 19–May 19: PennyGallery, Charlotte Street Arts Centre (732 Charlotte Street, Fredericton, E3B 1M5), with a launch reception Friday, April 19, 5 to 7 pm. Continue reading




CJPME slams Baird’s threat to punish Palestinian if they go to ICC

Montreal, March 7, 2013 — Foreign Minister John Baird’s recent comments at the AIPAC policy meeting earlier this week reveal much more than he may have intended, asserts Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME.) At the March 3 policy meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Baird ominously promised dire “consequences” if the Palestinian Authority files a complaint at the International Criminal Court (ICC) over Israel’s “settlements” in the West Bank. “Baird inadvertently revealed that he knows that a body of neutral jurists well versed in international law—the ICC—would find Israel guilty. Otherwise, why the threats?” says Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. Continue reading




CJPME releases recommendations for Canada’s Syria policy

Montreal, March 6, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) has released detailed recommendations for Canadian policies to address the Syrian crisis. They include:   Provide 4.5 percent of the total OECD support for humanitarian relief for Syrian refugees and internally displaced. Fast-track Syrian refugee and immigration applications, and resettle in Canada 30,000 Syrian refugees and internally displaced over the next 12 months. Help Palestinian refugees in Syria who are caught in the conflict; resettle in Canada 10,000 of the nearly half a million Palestinian refugees normally resident in Syria; restore funding for UNRWA’s core programmes; respond more generously to UNRWA’s emergency appeal. Support international efforts for a non-military solution to the Syrian civil war. Support UN efforts to legally pursue war criminals in Syria. Ensure that Canadian military exports do not wind up in the hands of either side in the Syria conflict; suspend all Canadian military exports destined for end use by Saudi Arabia. Continue reading




MPs must speak up on Palestinian detainee’s torture-death

Montreal, February 26, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on Canadian MPs to speak out against the apparent torture-death Saturday of a 30-year-old Palestinian man in the custody of Israeli authorities. “This prisoner’s death is horribly reminiscent of black detainees’ deaths in apartheid-era South Africa,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. The IDF and Shin Bet (Israel’s domestic intelligence agency) arrested Arafat Jaradat (30) at his home in the small town of Sa’eer, near Al-Khalil (Hebron) at midnight on February 18, alleging that he had thrown stones at cars carrying Israelis from a nearby “settlement.” A doctor present at the autopsy conducted by Israel’s forensics institute in Tel Aviv reports that Jaradat’s body displayed signs of beatings in the days prior to his death. Continue reading




Syrian atrocities should be referred to ICC

Montreal, February 21, 2013 —Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) backs UN officials’ call to bring charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against both Syrian government officials and anti-government armed groups for their respective war crimes. CJPME welcomes the detailed report released February 18 by the UN-appointed Commission of Inquiry on Syria. According to the report, both government forces and anti-government armed groups have massacred civilians and hors de combat fighters. Commission official Carla del Ponte—former chief prosecutor for the international criminal tribunal on Yugoslavia—says that the Commission has identified high-level perpetrators and evidence warrants their prosecution by the ICC. “The perpetrators—whatever their allegiances—must be tried for the crimes that the evidence gathered by the Commission of Inquiry points to,” says CJPME President Thomas Woodley. Continue reading




World indifferent as Palestinian hunger striker nears death

Montreal, February 13, 2013  — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is extremely concerned that Samer Issawi—a 34-year-old Palestinian on a hunger strike—is near death. Issawi has been on hunger strike for over 200 days to protest his detention by Israeli authorities without charge or trial.  Issawi was one of several hundred Palestinian prisoners released in December 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange. He had been imprisoned since 2002. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), he was arrested again on July 7, 2012 on the basis of an Israeli military order revoking his release. He was initially held at the Moscobiyya Detention Centre where he was interrogated for 28 days, and was denied access to his lawyer for the first 23 days. HRW has urged Israel to either release the prisoners or charge them and try them in processes that meet international human rights standards. Continue reading




CJPME applauds request to refer Syrian situation to ICC

Montreal, January 14, 2013  —  Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the decision of 57 countries to ask the UN Security Council to refer the Syrian situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for investigation. The joint initiative asks the Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the ICC for investigation of numerous alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity, “without exceptions and irrespective of the alleged perpetrators.” The group of countries making the request is diverse: Australia, Austria, Belgium, France, Denmark, Norway, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Japan, Botswana, Libya and Tunisia, among others. Continue reading