Last week, a group of Canadian novelists, poets and activists wrote an open letter to the Israeli and Canadian governments calling on Israel to halt the evictions of Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills to make way for the military live fire range, and to reject the Prawer Plan, under which tens of thousands of Bedouin citizens of Israel will be forcibly relocated from their communities in the Negev. The letter follows on the heels of a similar call against the South Hebron evictions from Israeli writers including David Grossman, Amos Oz and AB Yehoshua.
The Canadian letter was organized by Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). CJPME’s president Thomas Woodley explained in a press release that the the authors’ action is filling a political, and moral, gap, “It is inspiring to see Canadian writers demonstrating ethical leadership, especially at a moment when Canada’s political leaders seem to have lost their moral compass.”
Here is the full text of the Canadian letter:
Open Letter to Israeli and Canadian Leaders Regarding Impending Evictions of South Hebron Palestinians and Negev Bedouin
We, the undersigned, urge Israeli leaders to heed the call by David Grossman, Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and 21 other Israeli writers to halt, immediately and permanently, the eviction of about 1000 Palestinians from their homes in various villages in South Hebron, West Bank (occupied Palestinian territory), in order to clear land for an Israeli army firing zone. These Palestinian villagers have inhabited their homes for several centuries. Evicting them would violate international law and cause extreme hardship.
We also urge you to reject the Begin-Prawer Plan currently before the Knesset which, if fully implemented, would result in the forced relocation of between 20,000 and 70,000 Bedouin citizens of Israel from their homes in the Negev. This Plan would also result in the destruction of up to 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin villages. We ask you to heed the European Parliament’s call to withdraw the Plan, which violates the constitutional rights of the Bedouin to property, dignity and equality.
The actions planned are manifestly unjust, and will gravely damage Israel’s international reputation.
We also respectfully ask our Canadian leaders to take diplomatic steps to encourage Israeli leaders to heed this call. As the Israeli writers have said, “Each and every one of us bears the moral obligation to try and relieve the suffering.”
Michel Marc Bouchard
Allison Hedge Coke
Gale Zoe Garnett
Silver Donald Cameron
Maureen Scott Harris