Canada must be condemned for its support of Israel
Sunday, November 18, 201217 Comments
War today brings more deaths to civilians than to soldiers. Populations are bombed with the buzzing of drones overhead.
Palestinians in Gaza are facing air strikes and strikes from military ships off the coast as this article is being written.
There have been 80 deaths in the most recent offensive from Israel called Operation Pillar of Defense. 77 Palestinians and 3 Israeli civilians have died. Over 600 Palestinians have been wounded, including children.
On November 5, 2012, a 20-year-old man, Ahmad al-Nabaheen was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers when he wandered close to the Israeli – Palestine border. Then again, on November 8, a 13-year-old boy playing football in front of his house was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers. The wounding of four Israeli soldiers at the border on November 10 came after these triggering events.
Later, on November 14, two days after Palestinian factions in Gaza called for a truce, Israel assassinated the leader of the Hamas’ Military wing, Ahmed Jabari.
Israel has called up 75,000 army reserves in order to build up along the southern border of the Gaza strip. There is growing worry that Israel will go on a ground invasion into Gaza. This offensive from Israel comes close to election time, when the ultra-right wing Israeli Government wants to use war for political gain and to push Israeli citizens to the right. It also comes with the growing threat of war between the West and Iran.
Since June 2007, Gaza’s population of over 1.5 million has been under siege and isolated from the outside world. Vital resources like building supplies, medical supplies, mechanical parts, fuel, and clothing have been prohibited from entering Gaza. Food has even been restricted to the point where Gaza civilians are given barely enough to live. According to a UN report in 2009, 75 percent of Gaza’s population is food insecure. The blockade is a form of apartheid and collective punishment being forced upon the Palestinian population by Israel.
According to OXFAM, hospitals experience power cuts lasting for 8 – 12 hours a day, 25-30% of Gaza’s households do not receive running water, 80 per cent of the water in Gaza falls below World Health Organization standards, and 95 per cent of industrial operations in Gaza have stopped because of the lack of electricity, production materials, and ability to export goods. According to the Red Cross, 30 per cent of the Arable land in Gaza lies within a buffer zone beside the Israeli made apartheid wall. The Red Cross also reports that Palestinians that attempt to farm this land are often shot at.
Canadian relations with Israel must be condemned. Canada is a strong ally of Israel and supports the blockade on Gaza, as well as Israel’s apartheid regime. Israel’s actions fall under apartheid. The United Nations’ Convention Against Apartheid defines apartheid as “Acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”
One characteristic of apartheid is the denial of the “right to life and liberty of person” for a group of people. An attack against this right is happening on a huge scale right now for Palestinians in the Gaza strip, and it happened again on a huge scale during Operation Cast Lead, Israelis offensive on Gaza in 2009 that saw an estimated 1400 civilians killed.
Palestinians also live under a different set of laws than Israelis. Under Israeli law, Palestinians can be detained indefinitely without trial, something that is not the case for Israeli citizens.
And of course, it is important not to forget the illegal Israeli settlements in Gaza and the West bank resulting in thousands of Palestinian homes being demolished, and hundreds of thousands of Palestinians being left homeless. The UN calls for the settlements in the occupied territories to be dismantled and given back to Palestinian Refugees.
Canadians need to voice our outrage at the Canadian government for its compliance with Israel. Stephen Harper has stated that he respects Israel’s “right to defend itself” when Israel is not acting in defense but on the offensive and killing innocent civilians.
There have been protests across Canada and across the world calling for Israel to stop its system of apartheid and stop the offensive on Gaza. We must call on the Canadian Government to follow the majority of countries at the UN that call for Israeli apartheid to end. It is outrageous that Canada trades with Israel, and that Canadian corporations profit from apartheid. This must end.
Here is a link to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign that calls for an end to relations with Israel for as long as it is committing such systemic violence: http://www.bdsmovement.net/
Universities in Canada should take part in BDS. Students Against Israeli Apartheid target Hewlett Packard (HP) among other companies in their divestment campaigns at the University of Toronto and York University. HP provides Israel with IT infrastructure including Biometric Identification Systems that are used at checkpoints in the occupied territory. The University of Guelph received $6.2 million from HP for the science complex, and our university accepted a grant to use HP tablet PCs in first-year CIS seminars in 2007. There have been other deals between HP and UofG over the years as well, and it is unacceptable that our university works with a company that profits from apartheid.