On Nov. 1, 2021, Canadian Friends of Peace Now wrote to Canada’s new foreign affairs minister, the Hon. Melanie Joly, introducing ourselves to her and asking her to speak out strongly against rampant settlement expansion.

The Hon. Melanie Joly
Minister of Foreign Affairs

Dear Minister Joly,

Congratulations on your appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, and allow us to introduce ourselves. Canadian Friends of Peace Now is a Zionist organization aligned with Peace Now (Shalom Achshav), which is Israel’s premier peace movement and which promotes the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Peace Now regularly sounds the alarm about a major obstacle to the two-state solution: the expansion of Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank. The relentless spread of settlements has been called “creeping annexation,” designed to make a two-state solution ever harder to achieve. Peace Now points out that such a policy not only violates international law and is harmful to Palestinians, but also is detrimental to Israel’s own long-term existence as a democratic Jewish state.

In recent weeks, Israel’s government gave the go ahead for close to 3,000 new housing units in West Bank Jewish settlements. Much of this housing will be in settlements deep in the West Bank, blocking the contiguity and viability of an eventual Palestinian state. In addition, the government has approved tenders for 1,355 new settlement units. There are other problematic plans as well.

In the Biden administration’s firmest rebuke of Israeli policy to date, the US State Department has sharply protested the advancement of the new settlement housing, as have the EU and France. They all asked Israel not to proceed with the announced plans and tenders. We call on Canada to join with these voices from the liberal democratic world in urging Israel onto a more constructive path.

Your government has a commendable policy of support for international law, for peace in the region and for the two-state solution. It is also known as a staunch ally of Israel. We hope you will speak out strongly and publicly for these principles and against the latest settlement expansion plans, for the sake of a better future for both Israelis and Palestinians.

We would be happy to discuss these issues further with you or your staff whenever you find convenient.

Thank you,
Gabriella Goliger
National Chair
Canadian Friends of Peace Now

For more information about CFPN, please see our web site www.peacenowcanada.org. For the latest Peace Now report on settlements: : https://peacenow.org.il/en/a-government-of-change-for-the-worse