On Monday, July 19, 2021, along with other Jewish organizations, Canadian Friends of Peace Now participated in a virtual meeting with Global Affairs Minister Marc Garneau. The purpose of the meeting was for Minister Garneau to speak about his recent visit to Israel and the West Bank and to hear reactions and concerns from Canadian Jewish community leaders. Below is the text of the brief presented by Gabriella Goliger, National Chair, CFPN.
Thank you Minister Garneau for this opportunity. I am the National Chair of Canadian Friends of Peace Now, which is affiliated with the Peace Now movement in Israel. We are a Zionist organization, dedicated to promoting the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Our supporters come from Jewish communities across Canada.
We were pleased that during your recent visit to Israel you reaffirmed Canada’s support for the two-state solution, and called for an end to settlement expansion, home demolitions and home evictions. We urge you to speak out even more forcefully on these issues.
Peace Now is extremely concerned about the likelihood of further evictions in East Jerusalem. Israel’s High Court will soon hear the final appeal in the Sheikh Jarrah case. If the ruling goes against the Palestinian residents and if the Israeli government does not intervene on their behalf, we might see another explosion of violence as happened last May. Peace Now is calling on Israelis and on the international community to speak out on the matter at this moment of great urgency.
Another crucial matter is the possibility of more than 3,400 new settler units to be built in a key area in the heart of the West Bank, known as E1. Peace Now has raised the alarm over signs that Israel appears to be advancing this project, which would be highly detrimental to the two-state solution.
We hope that Canada will make it clear to the Israeli government that further unjust evictions in East Jerusalem are unacceptable, as would be new settlements in E1, and any other moves that amount to creeping annexation of the West Bank. Canada can speak to Israel as a friend that is concerned for its best interests. And it is certainly in Israel’s own interests to create conditions that favour peace with the Palestinians, rather than raising barriers.
However, it is not only up to Israel to create such conditions. We are glad that you raised Canada’s concern about democratic processes and human rights during your recent visit with Palestinian leaders. It would be disastrous to peace prospects if discontent with the P.A. leads to further support for Hamas. Moderation and compromise must be encouraged on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.