Montreal, May 15, 2023 - Below is a letter to Canada's Ambassador to the United Nations, Bob Rae, requesting an explanation for Canada’s decision to “boycott” the United Nation’s High-Level Special Committee Meeting on the 75th Commemoration of the Nakba, which was held today at the UN headquarters in New York. Canada’s boycott of the event was reported by the Times of Israel. "Canada’s decision to boycott this UN event commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba is offensive and unacceptable, and it demands an explanation."Read more
Montreal, May 15, 2023 — Today we mark the 75th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba (‘catastrophe’ in Arabic), the expulsion, destruction, and ethnic cleansing of Palestine associated with the creation of Israel in 1948. The Nakba is a process that has never ended. Today, CJPME stands in solidarity with the Palestinian people in Canada and around the world, and reaffirms its support for the fundamental and inalienable right of Palestinian refugees to return to the country that they were forced to leave behind.Read more
March 15, 1950 - Israel enacts Absentee Property Law
On this day in 1950, the Israeli Knesset enacted the Absentee Property Law, which expropriated the land and property of Palestinians who fled their homes during the Nakba in 1948. The law declared that any Palestinians who had been away from their land during the war (even if they were seeking refuge in a neighbouring town) were considered “absentees” and lost all rights and ownership to it. This consequentially led Israel to demolish hundreds of thousands of Palestinian homes and expropriate millions of acres of Palestinian land. As a result of this, hundreds of indigenous cities and villages were systematically destroyed by Israeli soldiers and transferred to Jewish Israelis, preventing the return of the original owners.
This was one of several important laws which were designed to dispossess Palestinians and prevent refugees from returning to their homes. Today, many Palestinians remain to hold on to keys that unlock doors to their properties in Palestine, hoping that one day they will be able to return. The law remains active today and continues to be used in East Jerusalem to dispossess Palestinians of their property and transfer it to Jewish Israeli settlers.
"The law gives anyone who is a Jew the right to claim property, in principle, whether they could prove their ownership to it or not. But a Palestinian who was displaced from his village in 1948 has no right to claim his property back under such a law.” Suhad Bishara, Adalah: Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel
Under Israeli law today, there are significant discriminatory barriers which make it difficult for Palestinians to obtain a permit to build a home. Since most permits are declined, Palestinians are often forced to build “illegally,” resulting in Israel demolishing their homes. These policies and discriminatory acts of colonization are put in place to privilege the settlement of Jewish Israelis at the expense of Palestinians.
On February 2, 2021, the Coalition of Canadian Palestinian Organizations sent a letter to Minister Gould in response to her announcement that Canada would be investigating recent allegations by pro-Israel groups against UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. CJPME has endorsed this letter, alongside the Canadian Arab Institute and Independent Jewish Voices Canada.Read more
This position paper discusses how the Canadian government should handle Trump's decisions regarding Jerusalem and Palestinian refugees.
Montreal, October 1st, 2018 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on the Canadian government to take concrete action to renew its commitment to the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA). Late last week, the Vice-President of the European Union and several Foreign Ministers hosted a meeting in New York in response to the Trump administration’s cancellation of key funds to UNRWA. Thirty-four UN member-states and organizations were in attendance, raising $122 million in funds for the organization. Canada was notably absent from this meeting.Read more
Montreal, August 25, 2017 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) applauds the Canadian government’s decision this week to renew funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) – the UN aid agency for Palestinian refugees. Thursday, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau announced that Canada would contribute $25 million total to support the organization’s work. “CJPME and other human rights organizations would prefer that Canada and the international community find a permanent solution for the five million registered Palestinian refugees. In the meantime, however, this funding is much needed by this vulnerable refugee population," declared Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME.Read more
Montreal, April 13, 2015 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) calls on the Canadian government to make an emergency intervention to help the Palestinian refugees caught between warring factions at the Yarmouk camp. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon condemned the situation in Syria’s Yarmouk refugee camp this week, calling it Syria’s “deepest circle of hell.” Yarmouk Camp, located just seven kilometers from central Damascus, is currently home to approximately 18,000 Palestinian refugees and has been threatened by Assad government forces, Syrian rebel groups and, most recently, Islamic State (ISIS) fighters. The situation in Yarmouk has deteriorated in past weeks with aid agencies unable to reach people in need and ISIS militants engaging in violent acts against civilians. Secretary Ban Ki-Moon further described Yarmouk by saying, “a refugee camp is beginning to resemble a death camp.”Read more
CJPME Factsheet 125, published June, 2011: This factsheet looks at Canada’s continued defunding of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians in the Near East (UNRWA), which provides assistance, protection and advocacy to approximately 4.8 million Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Until 2009, Canada had been one of the top 20 contributors to UNRWA’s core programs. While UNRWA’s funding grew consistently between 2000 and 2008, Canada was the only donor country to defund UNRWA’s core programs during this period.Read more