April 27, 2020.

Dear Minister Champagne,

We urge the Canadian government to speak out, as a friend of Israel, against the newly formed Israeli government’s foolhardy and dangerous aspirations to annex parts of the West Bank.

The annexation agenda has received the green light through the coalition agreement signed by Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz, which includes a clause about bringing such plans before the Knesset as early as July 1.

The European Union, various European states, and the UN have all recently spoken out against unilateral annexation.

The EU foreign policy chief, Joseph Borrell, has reiterated that the EU does not recognize Israeli sovereignty over the occupied West Bank and would view any annexation as a serious violation of international law. France, the United Kingdom and Germany have made similar statements. The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, warned that any annexation moves would deal a “devastating blow to the two-state solution” and would also threaten efforts to advance regional peace.

Canadian Friends of Peace Now, an organization of progressive Zionist Jews, is also deeply alarmed about the likelihood that formal, unilateral annexation may soon proceed. Such a move would indeed severely jeopardize the prospects for a two-state solution and eventual peace and is thus against the interests of both peoples: Israelis and Palestinians.

Our sister organization, Peace Now in Israel, has been tireless in advocating a two-state solution over the years, as well as protesting developments that impede peace for and harm democracy in their country. As staunch friends of Israel, we echo their concerns for Israel’s future as a Jewish, democratic state.

Peace Now points out the diplomatic, security and economic costs to Israel of annexation. “Most of all,” says Peace Now, “annexing territories without giving full citizenship rights to the millions of Palestinians who would be left in nominally autonomous enclaves under Israeli rule would spell an end to Israel’s democracy. Whether annexing one settlement or all of the settlements, such a move would constitute the foundation to an apartheid state.”

We hope the Canadian government will raise its strong objection to Israel’s annexation agenda and thus join the chorus of international protest.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Gabriella Goliger, National Chair, Canadian Friends of Peace Now