It is a shorter version of a letter sent to Ralph Goodale.
The letter to Ralph Goodale is also posted on http://itseemscomplicated.wordpress.com/
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale recently attended a meeting in occupied East Jerusalem. This was a symbolic pat on the back for the Netanyahu government and a slap in the face to Palestinians.
In December, the UN Security Council chastised Israel for its ongoing violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
The meeting occurred shortly after the Israelis demolished four elementary schools in Palestine. In response, the Belgian deputy Prime Minister condemned this action, “By undermining such humanitarian projects, Israel contravenes its international obligations as an occupying power.” (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/israel-destroys-west-bank-palestinian-schools-new-term-belgium-netherlands-compensation-a7912186.html)
These actions are tantamount to collective punishment targeting vulnerable Palestinian children and will inflame tensions for generations to come.
As a former human rights observer in the West Bank, I witnessed on a daily basis Israeli violations of international human rights and humanitarian laws. It was especially disturbing to witness the intimidation tactics of the Israeli military against Palestinian children including arresting and putting on trial children as young as 12 in Military Courts.
Minister Goodale needs to explain this significant breech of diplomatic protocol. After all, would he meet with Russian officials in the occupied parts of Georgia? Does his government reject the concerns of the Security Council? This meeting tarnishes Canada’s reputation as an honest broker for peace.
This Canadian government needs to stand up for human rights around the world – especially for the rights of children.
Rev. Steve Berube
Chair: United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine and Israel