Canadian Friends of Peace Now is very concerned about a resolution on Israel/Palestine due to be brought forward at the NDP national convention later this month.
 The highly one-sided resolution puts demands upon Israel, but none upon the Palestinians, for ending the conflict. Particularly troubling is that it emphasizes UN General Assembly Resolution 194 as a basis for a negotiated agreement. Passed in December 1948, towards the end of the first Arab-Israeli war, UNGA 194 calls for the return of Palestinian refugees displaced by that war to their homes.

For Israel to fulfill this demand today would mean opening its doors to millions of Palestinians (original refugees plus their descendants). It would mean the end of a Jewish majority for Israel and, in effect, the end of Israel as the national homeland of the Jews. It is also the antithesis of the only realistic solution to the conflict – a negotiated two-state solution which would see sovereign Israeli and Palestinian states existing side by side. The two-state solution has been the basis of every round of peace talks thus far for the simple reason that it is the only way out of the impasse. The NDP resolution would set the NDP squarely outside the international consensus on the matter.

Israel does indeed need to take steps to end its occupation and settlement program. But it cannot be expected to ignore its own security concerns, nor to be the only party that makes compromises. Though the burgeoning settlement movement is a serious obstacle to peace, it is not the only one. The Palestinian insistence on “right of return” is perhaps equally problematic, and those who genuinely wishpeace do the cause no favours by encouraging intransigence on the Palestinian side.

The proposed NDP resolution would replace a relatively balanced policy on the issue with a misguided, one-sided approach. The party would be advised to dismiss the motion.