Canada Supports Israel

Last month, the Palestinians came before the United Nations and asked the organization to endorse statehood for their people in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The Harper government has decided not to support the Palestinians’ bid for statehood. This is by no means a very popular stand in the international community, nor is it popular with many on the left in Canada who advocate fiercely for an independent Palestine, but in this case, the Harper government has decided to do what is right rather than what is popular.

Self-determination is the inherent right of all nations, but this right, like all rights, is not absolute. The state that the Palestinians are proposing to create would be one in which religious equality is not guaranteed as Islam would have status as the country’s official religion and fundamentalist Islamic law would be a primary source of legislation. Such a state would endanger the rights of women and religious minorities. 

The Palestinians also want a state based on the “borders” that were in place before the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.  Contrary to popular belief, these so-called borders are not borders at all, but armistice lines drawn up after the first Arab-Israeli war in 1948. Hence, the Palestinians want to unilaterally choose their own borders without any negotiations with Israel.

Another important point is that the Palestinians seek a state without any security guarantees for Israel, not to mention its other would-be neighbours.  Indeed, the Palestinian Authority, the internationally recognized representative of the Palestinian people, cannot even control its own territory, having lost control of the Gaza Strip to the Hamas terrorist group.  Now, rockets routinely rain down on Israeli towns and villages with sometimes deadly consequences.

What is most disturbing about the Palestinians’ proposed state is that it would require all Jews residing within it to leave. The essence of what is wrong with the attempt to gain U.N. recognition for a Palestinian state is that the proposal attempts to gain the status without negotiating with Israel any of the important issues of borders and the fate of Israeli settlements within the disputed  territories, recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and related peace and security guarantees, the future of Jerusalem and so on.

Prime Minister Harper and his government have made a wise and courageous move in foreign policy and set an example that other nations should follow.

- Jason Shvili

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