An open letter to Stephen Harper, agent of colonialism, injustice and hypocrisy

ActivismIsrael/Palestine
on 38 Comments
Benjamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper. (Photo: SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Benjamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper. (Photo: SEAN KILPATRICK / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

This letter was written in response to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to Israel.

Dear Mr. Harper,

Before I begin my letter, I must acknowledge that I have the pleasure of being allowed to reside on unceded Coast Salish territories in British Columbia. The bond between my people and the indigenous people of this land is unbreakable, and from it the Palestinian movement extracts the strength the keeps it going.

I could not get myself to listen to you uttering words of utmost injustice inside a building that was built on a land that belongs to my people and represents a regime that actively oppresses them. I did, however, manage to force myself to read it, and every pixel of every word on my computer screen made me both angry for the fact that I have the misfortune of calling my prime minister, and more determined to expose you for who you are: an agent of colonialism, injustice and hypocrisy.

It is not my intention to debunk every single thing that you’ve said in front of this illegitimate body of Zionist politicians. However, I will outline to you, step by step, how the Palestinian movement is not only going to prove to you how wrong you are for siding with a settler-colonial and rogue regime, but how it will demonstrate to you how irrelevant you are on the international scene – especially when it comes to the Palestinians’ struggle to liberate their lands.

First we will amplify our efforts to strengthen the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against the Zionist entity. This movement, which has received the support of notables like Stephen Hawking and Nelson Mandela (whose funeral you so shamelessly attended), has proven by all standards that it is one of the most important mechanisms to shame the Zionist entity and inflict upon it discernible damage. From cultural and academic  boycotts to the divestment of churches and institutions to economic and political sanctions, the BDS movement is gaining unprecedented momentum that will require you and your associates in the Zionist movement decades to reverse.

Second, the Palestinian movement in North America and Europe will continue to offer unconditional support for the men and women who are standing at the frontline of the struggle against occupation and Apartheid. We will continue to support all the political prisoners and demand their immediate release from Zionist jails. We will continue to support grassroots organizations who are persistently keeping their cause alive and exerting all types of effort to equip future generations and keep them informed. And we will continue to advocate and fight for an unconditional withdrawal of Zionist forces from all the lands that belong to the Palestinians.

Third,  we will record meticulously your actions and positions and those of your friends and allies on the international scene. We will not forget the Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement. We will record how you referred to Israel’s aggressive war against Lebanon as a measured response. We will record how you offered unconditional support to Operation Cast Lead which caused the death of over 1000 Palestinians. We will record how you and previous prime ministers spent hundreds of millions of tax payers’ money to support and maintain projects aiming at strengthening the Zionist project.

Fourthly we will remind you how despite all these aforementioned efforts you continue to be irrelevant on the international scene. We will keep reminding you over and again how the entire world does not regard you as an important influence on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. We will keep showing you over and again how despite your efforts to pander to war criminals like Netanyahu and Peres, they will continue to view you as nothing more than a pawn they can use whenever they find you convenient. This friendship that you speak of is nothing more than a one way relationship of a prime minister who is desperately looking for the affection of a settler-colonial entity that by nature has no capacity to express emotions.

Remember my words Mr. Harper: visit Israel as much as you want, but sooner or later history will cast you to the shadows of irrelevance.

Omar Chaaban
From the settlement of Vancouver of unceded coast salish territories.

About Omar Chaaban

Omar Chaaban is a Palestinian activist based in Vancouver, BC. He holds a BA in International Relations from the University of British Columbia and focuses on Syria and Palestine. Visit his blog: http://omar-chaaban.blogspot.ca, and follow him on: @al3isawy.

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38 Responses

  1. Krauss
    January 21, 2014, 4:19 pm

    I agree with more or less everything you wrote, but I’m still curious at this last biographical line:

    From the settlement of Vancouver of unceded coast salish territories

    So you, unlike most of Vancouver’s population I presume, feel strongly about the dislodged native population.

    Yet that doesn’t seem to stop you from continuating the dislocation of this native settlement in your personal life by settling there yourself.

    This is the left’s mirror-image of Zionism’s shizophrenic political persona: advocate ethnic pluralism at home because we benefit as minorities but advocate ethno-nationalism abroad because.. we benefit. This is the inverse. But the same hypocrisy. Advocate against colonialism abroad, benefit from it at home.

    (Oh and inb4 “everyone else does it!!”, so that excuses the behaviour? Most people don’t care about native populations, but those who claim to do so have a higher moral standard to pass through).

    • Theo
      January 22, 2014, 9:23 am

      The movement of human beings from one place to another is as old as the history of this race, however there is a great difference between moving to a territory of another nation to live with them and perhaps become one of them or to subjugate them, steal their land and chase them from their thousand years old home!!
      Mr. Chabaan did the first version, the zionist colonists in Israel did the second, therefore your critic on him is unjust.

  2. MahaneYehude1
    January 21, 2014, 4:32 pm

    Omar Sha’aban,

    Your letter to your PM is full of hatred and contempt. I didn’t see in your letter the words “peace”, “reconciliation”, and “living together”, only anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist blatant propaganda. Your PM supports Israel but he also supports the Palestinian people struggle for independent state and he opposes the settlements in the OPT. I think you had a good opportunity to call your PM to promote peace in the region instead of attacking his visit to Israel.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.569486

    I know that not many leaders support Israel. So, the few that support us are not searching for popularity among their people, but they are brave enough to tell the truth about Israel. The verbal attack of the Arab MK’s on your PM in the Israeli parliament saying that “Israel is an apartheid state” is the best proof that Israel is not an apartheid state, but free and democratic state. Your PM knows it, the Israeli-Palestinians know it and you should know it.

    I really sorry to read your letter.

    • Misterioso
      January 21, 2014, 11:06 pm

      “…Israel is not an apartheid state, but [a] free and democratic state.”
      Utter nonsense.

      Setting aside its belligerent, illegal and brutal occupation of Palestinian and other Arab lands seized during the war it launched on June 5, 1967, Israel (i.e., west of the green line) is most certainly not a democracy. At best, Israel is an ethnocracy under which its citizens’ access to democracy and human rights is determined by religion, race or ethnicity.

      To wit:
      Times of Israel, February 21, 2013:
      “Former Foreign Ministry director-general invokes South Africa comparisons. ‘Joint Israel-West Bank’ reality is an apartheid state”
      EXCERPT: “Similarities between the ‘original apartheid’ as it was practiced in South Africa and the situation in Israel and the West Bank today ‘scream to the heavens,’ added [Alon] Liel, who was Israel’s ambassador in Pretoria from 1992 to 1994. There can be little doubt that the suffering of Palestinians is not less intense than that of blacks during apartheid-era South Africa, he asserted.”

      Ronnie Kasrils, a key player in the struggle against the former South African apartheid regime, minister for intelligence in the current government and a devout Jew: “The Palestinian minority in Israel has for decades been denied basic equality in health, education, housing and land possession, solely because it is not Jewish. The fact that this minority is allowed to vote hardly redresses the rampant injustice in all other basic human rights. They are excluded from the very definition of the ‘Jewish state’, and have virtually no influence on the laws, or political, social and economic policies. Hence, their similarity to the black South Africans [under apartheid]¬.” (The Guardian, 25 May 2005)

      Adi Ophir, professor of philosophy, Tel Aviv University: “…the adoption of the political forms of an ethnocentric and racist nation-state in general, are turning Israel into the most dangerous place in the world for the humanity and morality of the Jewish community, for the continuity of Jewish cultures and perhaps for Jewish existence itself.” (1998 issue of “Theory and Criticism,” published in Israel)

      The Independent, Dec. 27/2011:
      “…EU broadside over plight of Israel’s Arabs”
      EXCERPT: “The confidential 27-page draft prepared by European diplomats… [shows] that Israeli Arabs suffer ‘economic disparities… unequal access to land and housing… discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned.'”

      The U.S. State Department’s report on International Religious Freedom: “Arabs in Israel…are subject to various forms of discrimination [and the government] does not provide Israeli Arabs…with the same quality of education, housing, employment opportunities as Jews.”

      Ynet, April 20, 2013:
      “US report: Israel discriminates against Arabs, women and migrants”
      By Yitzhak Benhorin
      EXCERPTS:
      “Discrimination of women, Arabs and Ethiopians, mistreatment of refugees and asylum seekers and violations of migrants’ rights – Israel is guilty of all these charges, according to a State Department report on human rights practices around the world.”

      “One of the most pressing problems, according to the report, is ‘the institutional and societal discrimination against Arab citizens, in particular in access to equal education and employment opportunities.’”

      Jewish Voice for Peace, Washington D.C. January 19, 2013:
      “…what is meant by [Israeli] ‘apartheid?’ ”
      “What we are talking about is a system that is similar to the oppression of South Africa, but also unique…. We believe that in law and in spirit, the term ‘Israeli Apartheid’ is fair…’”

      Shlomo Gazit, retired IDF Major General: “[Israel’s] legal system that enforces the law in a discriminatory way on the basis of national identity, is actually maintaining an apartheid regime.” (Haaretz, July 19, 2011)

      Israel’s Jewish citizens of Ethiopian origin/ancestry also suffer from discrimination and human rights violations:
      Haaretz, January 27, 2013 – “Israel admits Ethiopian women were given birth control shots.”
      EXCERPTS: “A government official has for the first time acknowledged the practice of injecting women of Ethiopian origin with the long-acting contraceptive Depo-Provera.”
      “The women’s testimony could help explain the almost 50-percent decline over the past 10 years in the birth rate of Israel’s Ethiopian community.”

      Attacks against Israel’s Christian citizens are tolerated by the government:
      Ynet, June 13, 2013: “Christian cemetery in Jaffa desecrated. Graffiti reading ‘revenge’ and ‘price tag’ found on tombstones in Christian Orthodox cemetery. Jaffa’s Arab residents outraged over government inaction”
      EXCERPTS: “Unknown vandals desecrated the Christian Orthodox cemetery in Jaffa and spray-painted the words ‘revenge’ and ‘price tag’ on several tombstones. ‘Price tag’ graffiti was also found on a residential building near the cemetery where Tel Aviv District Judge Khaled Kaboub resides.”
      “Jaffa’s Arab residents were outraged after learning of the vandalism and criticized the government and the police for failing to curb the phenomenon.”
      “Jaffa resident Mahmoud Aghabria said, ‘This is a criminal act that mustn’t be ignored. Racism in Jaffa is spreading and we fear that the government and the police are not doing anything to those who are behind the ‘price tag’ acts. If Arabs had desecrated a Jewish cemetery I’m sure arrests would have been made within hours.’ ”

      Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., “Israeli” nationality does not exist, only Jews and non-Jews, and each citizen carries an appropriate identity card. While the implications of this absurdity for discrimination and racism against non-Jews are obvious, it has just been upheld by Israel’s Supreme Court.

      Times of Israel, October 4, 2013:
      “Supreme Court rejects ‘Israeli’ nationality status'”
      EXCERPT: “Allowing citizens to relinquish ethnic or religious identity in the population registry would undermine Israel’s Jewishness, ruling says.
      “Israel’s population registry lists a slew of ‘nationalities’ and ethnicities, among them Jew, Arab, Druse and more. But one word is conspicuously absent from the list: Israeli.
      “Residents cannot identify themselves as Israelis in the national registry because the move could have far-reaching consequences for the country’s Jewish character, the Israeli Supreme Court wrote in documents obtained Thursday”

      Furthermore, a few years ago, the Knesset passed the “Citizenship Law,” which denies Israel’s Arab citizens the right to bring a spouse from the occupied Palestinian territories or any Arab or other country to live in Israel. Jews, however, can immigrate to Israel from anywhere in the world and automatically become citizens with full rights.

      The effect of this blatantly racist law and more than fifty other restrictions (http://adalah.org/eng/Israeli-Discriminatory-Law-DatabaseIsrael's) Arab citizens have to endure is well expressed by writer and Knesset member, Ahmed Tibi, Palestinian/Arab citizen of Israel: “…dutifully defining the state [of Israel] as ‘Jewish and democratic,’ ignores the fact that in practice ‘democratic’ refers to Jews, and the Arabs are nothing more than citizens without citizenship.” (Ma’ariv, 1.6.2005)

      Setting aside the horrors imprisoned Gaza Strip Palestinians are forced to endure at the hands of Israel, eminent Jewish Israeli journalist, Bradley Burston, aptly sums up the crimes perpetrated against Palestinians in the belligerently/illegally and brutally occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem:

      “Occupation is Slavery”
      Bradley Burston
      “In the name of occupation, generation after generation of Palestinians have been treated as property. They can be moved at will, shackled at will, tortured at will, have their families separated at will. They can be denied the right to vote, to own property, to meet or speak to family and friends. They can be hounded or even shot dead by their masters, who claim their position by biblical right, and also use them to build and work on the plantations the toilers cannot themselves ever hope to own. The masters dehumanize them, call them by the names of beasts.”
      (Ha’aretz, Feb. 26/13)

      Ynet, April 20, 2013:
      “US report: Israel discriminates against Arabs, women and migrants”
      By Yitzhak Benhorin

      “Referring to Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians [under occupation], the report accuses Israel of ‘excessive use of force against civilians, including killings; abuse of Palestinian detainees, particularly during arrest and interrogation; austere and overcrowded detention facilities; improper use of security detention procedures; demolition and confiscation of Palestinian property.’ ”
      “The State Department further criticized Israel for ‘limitations on freedom of expression, assembly, and association; and severe restrictions on Palestinians’ internal and external freedom of movement.’”

    • Ron Edwards
      January 22, 2014, 12:15 am

      Part one
      “The verbal attack of the Arab MK’s on your PM in the Israeli parliament saying that “Israel is an apartheid state” is the best proof that Israel is not an apartheid state, but free and democratic state.”

      Was that supposed to make sense? Is this one of those “we let them vote so see how democratic we are” tap-dances? Have not I and multiple other commenters here explained that we know what that trick is, what “Arab party” means in Israel? Is your thumb stuck on the page in the hasbara manual that says, Americans don’t understand coalition politics so they will always cave if you mention voting?

      Part Two
      Let’s hear your peroration on “peace, reconciliation, and living together.” I’m really curious to know what those words become in your model of desired outcomes.

      And here’s the real newsflash: BDS and its general line of activism is not a “program,” or a “framework,” or a “hatrack” or whatever they call it next. It is a signal: to STOP the appalling practices that are in force today. There you go. Stop them. If not, then the little spigots keep turning off. And should you really not, then the activism necessarily shifts to cutting off the big spigots. This kind of activism outflanked Reagan easily. You ain’t no Reagan.

      No one here is interested in providing you with a societal blueprint. We pay for your government’s blood-reeking policies, and we want them STOPPED.

      Having STOPPED, then build whatever state you can in that context, and do the peace, reconciliation, and living together then. Work it out because that’s your responsibility, not mine. Don’t lay that on anyone else. Omar Chaaban doesn’t have to tell you how to do it. He – and we – are saying, STOP that, and we do in fact hold the keys to the cash.

      If you want the very best for the current Jewish nationals of Israel, and I’m reaching here, for everyone who lives within its reach as well, then this will do it. It’s on you to support BDS where you are. Then I’ll believe you want peace, reconciliation, and living together.

      • MahaneYehude1
        January 22, 2014, 2:54 am

        @Ron Edwards;

        Was that supposed to make sense?

        Yes, of course!! It was supposed to make sense as it made sense to the Canadian PM when he saw the ritual in the Knesset. But, if this doesn’t make sense to you maybe other facts about Israeli-Palestinians would make sense: The facts that they have all the rights I have, not only to vote, but to serve and hold high positions as equal in the police, IDF, universities, colleges, factories, hospitals and actually in all fields. How many apartheid regimes do you know that allow “the inferiors” to serve as equal? Are those facts no more than tricks to show the world “How nice we are”?

        Canada is one of the strongest states in the world and can afford to say the truth. I sure that the PM supports us since he knows the real truth and I believe he knows exactly what apartheid means. He didn’t say that no problems are and he supports the Palestinians as my source shows you. I am not trying to say that we are perfect nor “light to the nations”. I never used such BS and idiotic phrase. No, we are not “light” and far to be perfect, but from this situation, consequence of the long bloody conflict which both pay price, to “apartheid state” their is a huge gap, and this gap is filled with continues lies that you and other insist to repeat: the lie that Israel is an apartheid state. This lie must be STOPPED.

        You hold the key to the cash? I am with you. Israel is economically strong state and I don’t understand why we continue to receive money from US. I hope this assistance will be STOPPED some day.

        Want me to support the BDS? OK, when you all STOP spouting lies such as Israel is an apartheid state and about the “continuous ethnic cleansing” then I will consider your recommendation. It is not hard to STOP this lies and tell the truth. Canadian PM can do it, Australian leaders can do it, GB, France, US and actually all strong states leaders can do it. You also can!! So, please, stop with this lie about the apartheid, lie that aimed to undermine the state of Israel and serve as a weapon against us.

      • Ron Edwards
        January 22, 2014, 4:33 pm

        Someone help this person. Apparently the exclusion of specific parties from coalitions and the completely broken provisions of the Basic Law are lost on him. Is the relentless disenfranchisement of so-called Israeli Arabs lost on him? Invisible? Does he really think that Israel’s domestic policies produce a state for all its citizens?

        “… they have all the same rights I have …” I throw up my hands. Mahane: they do not. Only the most dedicated closure of eyes and mind could yield your outlook. I understand the haters and bigots better; they say, “Those foreigners and infiltrators and Ay-rabs are bad, bad, and it’s a good thing they have less rights then us, because we want them to have no rights at all, and we want them gone!” What you’re saying is the most remarkable self-deluded noise ever.

        Someone else, please say something this person can begin to grasp. Or is this merely a matter of outright hasbara that has walked itself into absurdity simply by continuing to obstruct?

      • Shmuel
        January 22, 2014, 4:52 pm

        I throw up my hands.

        Join the club, Ron. I gave it a shot when he first joined us, but Mahane “knows what he knows”. Don’t waste your time.

      • MahaneYehude1
        January 22, 2014, 11:46 pm

        @Ron Edwards:

        I am sorry, but you are using slogans with no meaning to “support” your arguments. What do you mean “They do not”? Could you (you, not someone else) bring me your proofs that Israel is an apartheid state and the Israeli-Palestinians live under apartheid regime? But, please, please, please, proofs!!! real proofs from the Israeli-Palestinians daily-life, not “proofs” like “someone says that Israel is an apartheid state” like the examples written by Misterioso. Please, examples of apartheid and not again stories about Israeli racists that attacked Palestinians or asylum seekers. Apartheid, real apartheid like was in SA and South US. I beg you Ron and all: apartheid, just apartheid.

      • amigo
        January 23, 2014, 8:42 am

        “Someone help this person.” Ron.

        Ron, a cursory glance through his archives ought to enlighten you about mahane.

        Do not waste you time with him/them.Note, when you scroll through his archives how his English oscillates from almost perfect to illegible .That,s why we believe we are not dealing with one person but two , perhaps three.

        He is here as you stated to hijack the thread with repetitious hasbara and lies.

        Just my opinion.

      • jon s
        January 22, 2014, 2:57 am

        The Knesset is not an “illegitimate body of Zionist politicians”. It was democratically elected by the citizens of Israel and includes non-Zionists.

      • MahaneYehude1
        January 22, 2014, 11:33 pm

        @Shmuel:

        I very appreciate your recommendation to Ron. I also recommend him to join the club of people like you that close their eyes, don’t want to hear or learn any positive fact about Israel, ignore many facts that are not comfortable to them or, in best, distort the interpretations to blacken the face of Israel. But I don’t care because the real people that have to worry from the (imaginary) apartheid, the Israeli-Palestinian, or Ay-rabs as Ron call them, know better than all of you the truth and they already say their word clearly. What they know is that their are still many problems, consequences of the conflict, but the so called apartheid is a big lie aimed to fight Israel without firing missiles. It is only a cheap weapon.

        When I first entered MW, you thought that educate me, or “give me a shot” as you say. Soon you realized that you are dealing with someone that knows the facts, live with the facts and can write about them without using sophisticated language that distorts the truth. That’s the reason why you decided not waste your time. You tried to do it with Ayala by offering her to read hatred and propaganda books of lies and distortions. I glad that also in this case you decided not to waste your time.

      • amigo
        January 23, 2014, 8:35 am

        “Thanks for your recommendation but I must reject it. Only in MW I feel at home since here I can meet clever people like Walid and Shmuel, academics like Ron, funny people like Taxi, beautiful women like Pamela Olson, nice and honest people like Donald, poets like Sibiriak and more important, people that I like very much like you. So, sorry, Amigo, I stay here with you.”klan mahane

        I see you just pissed of your big buddy Ron Edwards.He is next to give up on responding to a tiresome numb skull adolescent bug such as you.You are so delusional , you believe these people like you or even share the slightest scrap of respect for you.You may feel at home spud but you are anything but welcome.

        As for telling the truth, you would not recognise truth if it hit you smack in your face.You are a zionist and ergo only recognise zio truth,(= lies and propaganda).

        BTW, you just got your last post from me.

      • MahaneYehude1
        January 25, 2014, 6:20 pm

        BTW, you just got your last post from me.

        Thanks God. So, no more “your English is perfect…excellent…bad…good..fake..” and no more “Klan Mahane…Mahane 1, 2 and 3” etc.

    • eljay
      January 22, 2014, 7:53 am

      >> Your letter to your PM is full of hatred and contempt.

      Your Zio-supremacist heart is full of hatred and contempt for anyone who demands justice and accountability from Zio-supremacists and their supremacist “Jewish State”.

      >> … Israel is not an apartheid state, but free and democratic state.

      Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”.

    • amigo
      January 22, 2014, 10:48 am

      klan mahane, how many more times do we have to show you Israel is an “Apartheid State.

      You cannot have a “Catholic Democracy”.

      You cannot have a “Muslim Democracy”.

      You cannot have a “Jewish Democracy”.

      You cannot have a nation where 30 + laws are enacted to deliberately give precedence to one group over an other.

      You cannot have democracy where Rabbis tell their clients to not rent to Arabs or non Jews.

      I could go on spud but we all know that you are eating to much of your inventory and the resultant starch is clouding your “brain” (?).

      You are living in an Apartheid state and nothing you say or claim will change that.Your problem is that there are forces at work in Israel working to build a total Apartheid in Israel.

      Their problem is there are forces at work outside Israel to put an end to their aims and yours.You by your constant denial are no different from those you claim do not exist.

  3. Justpassingby
    January 21, 2014, 4:36 pm

    This man would fellate TWO donkeys. Hes really insane. Really.

    Heres another insane minister from Australia on Israel.

    Australia FM wont say settlements are illegal.
    http://nsnbc.me/2014/01/17/australias-fm-julie-bishop-encourages-illegal-israeli-settlements/

    • Misterioso
      January 21, 2014, 11:23 pm

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/ex-australian-fm-slams-successor-for-pro-settlement-stance/?utm_source=The+Times+of+Israel+Daily+Edition&utm_campaign=2a7650c608-2014_01_21&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_adb46cec92-2a7650c608-54479733

      Times of Israel, January 20/14:
      “Ex-Australian FM slams successor for pro-settlement stance

      “Julie Bishop’s comments to The Times of Israel show ‘an ignorance of international law,’ says her immediate predecessor, Bob Carr.”

      By Raphael Ahren January 20, 2014

      “Australia’s former foreign minister Bob Carr on Monday criticized his successor’s disinclination to condemn Israeli settlements as illegal, saying that holding such a position ‘was to show an ignorance of international law.’”

      “In an interview with The Times of Israel last week, Julie Bishop (Liberal Party), who succeeded Carr (Labor) in September 2013, said the settlements may not be illegal under international law and warned against proclaiming them illegal until their status is formally negotiated as part of the ongoing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

      “But Carr said Bishop’s stance was mistaken and beyond the pale of standard opinions.

      “ ‘Julie Bishop should speak to [UK Foreign Secretary] William Hague or to the foreign minister of any conservative government in Europe, who will simply repeat what is a commonplace and commonsense opinion,’ Carr told the Sydney Morning Herald.

      “Bishop was traveling in the US on Monday and unavailable for comment, the paper reported.

      “The paper also quoted the head of the General Delegation of Palestine to Australia, Izzat Abdulhadi, saying he asked for ‘urgent meetings’ with senior Australian Foreign Ministry officials after Ms. Bishop’s interview was published.

      “PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi on Sunday called Bishop’s comments ‘willful defiance of international consensus.’ ”

      “Bishop had told The Times of Israel in an exclusive interview that settlements should be decided via negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

      “ ‘I don’t want to prejudge the fundamental issues in the peace negotiations,’ she said. ‘The issue of settlements is absolutely and utterly fundamental to the negotiations that are under way and I think it’s appropriate that we give those negotiations every chance of succeeding.’ ”

      “Asked whether she agrees or disagrees with the near-universal view that Israeli settlements anywhere beyond the 1967 lines are illegal under international law, she replied: ‘I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal.’ ”

      “Ashrawi panned Bishop’s comments, saying they represented ‘dangerous shifts in Australian foreign policy’ and called for an official clarification of Australian policy on the issue.

      “ ‘I would like to remind the Australian government that, in accordance with international human rights law and international humanitarian law, all settlements are illegal,’ Ashrawi wrote in a statement on Sunday, citing Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 43 of the Hague Regulations.

      “The position that settlements breach international law — adopted by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and many other states and international bodies, but rejected by Israel — is based on an interpretation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Article 49, paragraph 6, states that an occupying power ‘shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.’ Violations of the convention are considered war crimes under international law. Israel is a party to the convention and therefore bound by it.

      “However, Bishop said it was not helpful to ‘prejudge the settlement issue if you’re going to get a negotiated solution.’ ”

      Rather than supporting a peace agreement with the Palestinians, Ashrawi said, Bishop backs continued Israeli governance of the West Bank.

      Her remarks ‘send a clear message to both the international community and to the Palestinians that Australia is more committed to supporting Israel’s annexation of Palestinian land than backing any peace resolution that ends the military occupation of Palestine and calls for the creation of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,’ Ashrawi wrote.

      “Ashrawi also issued a call to Australia to clarify their position vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians.

      “In a vote on a resolution demanding that Israel cease ‘all Israeli settlement activities in all of the occupied territories’ last November, Australia was one of eight countries to abstain while nearly 160 nations supported the resolution. In December, Australia was one of 13 countries that did not vote in favor of a resolution calling on Israel to ‘comply scrupulously’ with the Geneva Convention. 169 countries voted yes on the measure.

      • amigo
        January 22, 2014, 10:08 am

        “However, Bishop said it was not helpful to ‘prejudge the settlement issue if you’re going to get a negotiated solution.’ ”

        FCS, Hold me back!!! let me at her.

  4. Keith
    January 21, 2014, 4:42 pm

    Oh Lord, is this post an attempt to buttress Omar Chaaban’s bona fides as an anti-imperialist in order to strengthen his credentials as a critic of Assad and potential enabler of more aggressive imperial intervention in Syria? There is a lot to criticize about Harper but why this particular author?

    • Theo
      January 22, 2014, 9:38 am

      Simple reason: “the enemy of my enemy is a friend of mine”!

  5. Danny_123
    January 21, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Israel is a place that desperate politicians go to to seek out their political salvation. Harper believes that by pandering to Canadian Jews, he can reverse his downward political trend and wash away his government’s scandal-laden track record. He’ll have to do better than that in order to avoid joining such failed politicians as Mitt Romney, George W. Bush and Gordon Brown – all of whom went to Israel almost precisely upon hitting the nadirs of their respective political careers.

    Of course, it never hurts a politician’s ego to go to a place that showers him with more love and affection that he could ever receive in his native country.

  6. Mike_Konrad
    January 21, 2014, 8:16 pm

    This is stupid!

    Harper is an evangelical Christian which explains his support for Israel.

    Nothing sinister here.

    The Canadians voted him in knowing his background and his positions.

    • MahaneYehude1
      January 22, 2014, 3:05 am

      @Mike:

      Indeed, Harper is evangelical Christian but I don’t think this explains his support for Israel. I don’t believe a leader of a strong country shapes his opinion only because his religious background. When he speaks in front of any state parliament, he represents the Canadian people and the Canadian administration, not his personal positions. Beside, Harper, although evangelical Christian, supports independent Palestinian state and opposes the settlements in the OPT, unlike most Evangelists.

    • talknic
      January 22, 2014, 5:15 am

      Mike_Konrad “Harper is an evangelical Christian which explains his support for Israel.

      Nothing sinister here.”

      Nothing at all, except the sinister practices of Israel illegally acquiring non-Israeli territories, being in breach of the UN Charter and International Law, collective punishment and a huge stack of LIES stretching back to 1897

      “The Canadians voted him in knowing his background and his positions”

      Was the support of an illegal regime in Jerusalem on his platform ticket?

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 22, 2014, 10:39 am

      “Harper is an evangelical Christian which explains his support for Israel.

      Nothing sinister here.”

      Wrong. Evangelical Christians supporting israel is sinister, in and of itself.

    • American
      January 22, 2014, 10:51 am

      @ Konrad

      If I were Jewish or Israel I wouldnt be all that happy about Harper’s devotion to Israel…..the man is not hitting on all cylinders and has gone off the rails on Israel as well as other things– like thinking he has the authority to ‘fire’ duly elected representives in the house of commons….very bizarro. He is true nutcase…along the lines of the US congressman Louie Gohmert….a ideology fanatic. There are several articles about Harper’s ’emotional breakdowns’ during his speeches on Israel–he appears unstable mentally.
      Canada evidently has the same and maybe even worse problem than the US by having a cabal of conserative and war fanatics + having Harper at the head + evidently the Canada Jews jumped off the liberal wagon and voted 52% for Harper and conseratives.
      I predict the same kind of backlash re Israel in Canada as we will see more of in the US eventually because of these leaders who ignore how their Israel fetish appears to the citizens of their countries – except I think its going to happen a lot sooner in Canada—-specifically because of Harpers very public craziness on Israel.
      The Israel and Zionist thinking that if they can put the leaders of countries in their pocket they can also control and rule the country’s population for Israel’s benefit is like using the protocol of the elders papers to set fire to their own funeral pyre….guarented blowback. Utter stupidity and miscalculation and ignorance of human nature brought on by hubris.

      http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/stephen-harper-vows-loyalty-to-israel-in-speech-to-knesset-1.2503393#
      Top comment with 358 likes: “Too bad Israel doesn’t realize that such blatant support from Harper is souring Canadians on Israel. Most folks support returning Israel to the borders granted by the UN.”
      Second most liked comment: “As a Canadian, Mr. Harper does not speak for me anymore and never will again.I do not share his views on his unwavering support for Israel without addressing Israeli settlements and Israel’s continued refusal to to make peace talk dialogue possible. It is very difficult if not downright impossible to support a man who does not know what is going on around in office (PM0), let alone support and trust him to represent Canadians on an international stage.”
      Comment: “If Israel loves him so much they can keep him.”

      Harper Says He’ll Support Israel Even If It Hurts Canada Politically …
      http://www.citynews.ca/…/harper-says-hell-support-israel-even-if-it-hurts-cana…‎
      Nov 9, 2010 – Harper says he has “the bruises to show” for standing up against anti-Israel rhetoric.

      When a foreign country’s interest divides the citizens of another country the way Israel is doing your days are numbered.—you’re in the spotlight.

      • oneof5
        January 24, 2014, 1:19 pm

        American,

        The link to the City News article is dead and returns a 404 error … would be handy if you could fix it. I tried searching City News’ web site and couldn’t come up with anything.

  7. Castellio
    January 21, 2014, 8:18 pm

    I’m not sure I understand your point, Krauss.

    The writer is expressing support for the Salish nations whose land is most commonly called Vancouver. Those nations ask responsible people and organizations to remember that fact, to express it, and to be clear on it. Increasing general knowledge of that situation is necessary for the eventual reconciliation that will come.

    Perhaps you are suggesting he must move away; but in fact the Salish people have not asked that of him. What they have asked of him he seems to be doing.

    harper despises the Native people, and he despises the Palestinians. He is quite content to see both treated unjustly. While Native people suffer higher cancer rates as the tar sands exploitation continues and grows, turning what were once pristine areas into toxic dumps of unimaginable magnitude, and pushing Canada ever further down the dead end of nonrenewable fuel economies, Harper dedicates his bird sanctuary on stolen Palestinian land. It is all of a kind.

    Perhaps of interest to those who read these comments is the list of members of harper’s “team” and who traveled with him.

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/200760944/Prime-MInister-Stephen-Harper-s-trip-to-Israel-Accompanying-Party

    • Walid
      January 22, 2014, 5:05 am

      “… land is most commonly called Vancouver”

      Vancouver, Victoria, Puget Sound and Seattle.

      • Castellio
        January 22, 2014, 3:08 pm

        Yes, and many more are possible to list.

  8. uh...clem
    January 22, 2014, 1:24 am

    I’m not sure you know that much about Canadian politics, Mike_Konrad. Only 39% of the vote went to Harper in the 2011 election, with a huge boost for him coming from the corporate sector, including the newspapers (30 of the leading 31 papers supported him for re-election. Only the Toronto Star demurred). Canadians overwhelmingly do NOT know his religious background and it is almost never mentioned in the corporate media. Finally, the contradiction between Canada’s official position on the OPT and Harper’s cozying up to Israel all of the time simply does not register in the public mind.

    • Walid
      January 22, 2014, 11:12 am

      Justin Trudeau of the Liberal Party should be Canada’s next PM in Oct 2015. Most Liberals are more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

      • Castellio
        January 23, 2014, 11:10 am

        Members of the Liberal Party may, as individuals, be more sympathetic to the Palestinian cause, but the Liberal party is not.

        In fact, the party is currently working hard to curry favour with those Jewish constituencies in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg and Vancouver that have deserted the Liberals for the Conservatives due to their stance of Israel ‘right or wrong’.

        Irwin Cottler has played a critical role in determining Liberal Party policy to Israel, and he has children who have fought for the IDF. He was also behind the illegal policies of “security detentions”, jailing Muslims on suspicion and giving them no legal process to defend themselves.

        Thinking there will be more even-handedness in Canada’s relation to Palestine under the Liberal Party, or for that matter, the NDP under Mulcair, is fantasy.

  9. Walid
    January 22, 2014, 4:57 am

    “Omar Chaaban
    From the settlement of Vancouver of unceded coast salish territories.”

    Does that make Omar a settler like you know who? He makes me think of the paradox of Israelis of good will that sympathize with the Palestinians and abhor their mistreatment by Israel while at the same time continuing to live there and in some places on land stolen outright, to drink and bathe from its stolen waters and to enjoy the other fruits of the land. I see Omar has more in common with these Zionist settlers than with the Coast Salish people.

    • Antidote
      January 22, 2014, 9:50 am

      “on land stolen outright, to drink and bathe from its stolen waters and to enjoy the other fruits of the land”

      “No tribe has the right to sell [land], even to each other, much less to strangers…. Sell a country!? Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn’t the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children?” Tecumseh

      article on different conceptions re land ownership between Native Americans and European colonists:

      http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/nchist-colonial/2027

      Theodore Roosevelt’s apologia:

      http://www.britannica.com/presidents/article-9116965

  10. Walid
    January 22, 2014, 5:11 am

    “I could not get myself to listen to you uttering words of utmost injustice inside a building that was built on a land that belongs to my people …” (Omar)

    Yes and no. The Knesset, the neighbouring Grand Synagogue, the Museum and the other government and commercial buildings are built on land leased by Israel from Jerusalem’s Greek Orthodox Patriarchate until 2050.

    • Sibiriak
      January 22, 2014, 7:55 am

      Walid:

      “I could not get myself to listen to you uttering words of utmost injustice inside a building that was built on a land that belongs to my people …” (Omar)

      Yes and no

      Perhaps he should have written “in a land” instead of “on a land”, which could be interpreted as “on land”.

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