Our history on the Israel/Palestine conflict

In the discussion around the contentious motion that was passed at Convention last August we often forget that the Green Party has a long standing history of constructive support for the Palestinians and for peace in the middle east. The important distinction is that in the past our policies tended to reflect our values and principles and not specific tactics. This is a complex issue. So for the record, here is the text of what has been on our books for some time.

5.11 The Israel – Palestine Conflict

Vision Green: "It should be clear that continued support and use of military or insurgency strategies will not bring about an end to the conflict. The cycle of violence, loss of life, and desecration of human rights must come to an end.

The Green Party of Canada believes that any effort aimed only at one side in this conflict will not end the violent responses that exacerbate human suffering. Canada’s role in the Middle East should be to reduce tensions, find working solutions, and uphold international humanitarian law, not to take sides in this chronic conflict. We must work towards a mutually acceptable compromise that will achieve a lasting peace between, and among, the Israelis and Palestinians."

You can read the full text by clicking on the above link. It seems that the resolution passed in Ottawa last summer stands in direct contradiction to this policy.

Here are the actual resolutions that have been passed in previous conventions.

 

G14-P22 Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlement Expansions

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada fully condemn all illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as undeniable obstacles to the Israel­/Palestine peace process.

 

G14­-P58 Israel-Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC urges the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The GPC will adopt a posture of engaged neutrality, opening all available diplomatic avenues in both Palestine and Israel to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict consistent with the GPC’s commitment to justice and custom of speaking truth to power.

 

G08­-P042: Israel/Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada:

1. Support a two­ state solution to the Israel­/Palestine conflict that adheres to pre­ 1967 borders and also seeks to incorporate an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations.

2. Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law.

3. Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed upon honest broker to engage in bilateral and multi­lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis.

4. Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests.

5. Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided.

6. Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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  • commented 2016-11-15 20:27:50 -0800
    I’ve always had great respect for Ms. May and championed her to the max. However, I have also experienced questionable actions around human rights over a couple of other serious matters in the Party and therefore am no longer surprised by her performance. The BDS matter is yet another failure to stand by what the party voted on. There is NO reason this couldn’t have waited till the next convention, like very other resolution, to amend. And something that gets missing in this fiasco is that we are, after all, about human rights and non-violence, one of our Party’s core pillars.
  • commented 2016-11-07 09:52:26 -0800
    “Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.” G08­-P042. Seems to me that support for the Greens BDS resolution is a logical extension of this existing policy. There are groups representing both sides of the conflict who are supporting BDS – Israelis and Palestinians. The BDS organization is a grassroots organization committed to non-violence. Ms May, using a stance of “neutrality” as one of the reasons to attempt to undemocratically overturn this resolution is not a credible or reasonable stance to take. I am very disappointed in your actions to block and rescind this resolution that was passed according to agreed upon procedures. I would question your underlying motives for doing so, using your position of Leader. I joined the Green Party because I believe that you are leader who operates with integrity and I believe that the GPC Platform has intellectual and moral strength that has the potential to change how we view and make decisions in our country and by extension, our planet. Social Justice is also an issue that has as much significance and is closely tied to our concerns for our Climate. Progress in one can only benefit progress in the other. I support the initiative to have the BDS resolution stand and to cancel the SGM in December to this effect. Please stand with the Green Parties of the US and the UK in supporting the BDS movement, giving legitimate support to the struggle for human rights for Palestinians.
  • commented 2016-11-06 12:33:23 -0800
    Hi!
    I am having a difficulty time understanding the SGIGreens – you are an EDA as I understand it?
    And yet you put forth opinions which anyone coming to your site, could well assume, come directly from Elizabeth May and GPC.
    Is that the case?

    I just want to know whether the posts/opinions/ on this page are those of Elizabeth May and/or the GPC, or those of some members of this particular electoral district.

    Thank you,
    look forward to your response to clear up my confusion
  • commented 2016-11-06 11:15:28 -0800
    This is a continuation of my previous comments:

    PS – Another GPC member has directed me to a presentation that covers opinion published by Centre for Constitutional Rights that I discussed previously:

    “On October 7-8, 2016, an important conference [https://www.sfu.ca/gsws/community-outreach/newsworthy/Conference_on_Genocide_2016.html] was held in Vancouver BC entitled “Genocide: The Politics of Denial, Forgetting and the Work of Memory”. One of the plenary sessions at this conference featured Sid Shniad and Hanna Kawas detailing the long history of Israeli genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinian people. The session highlighted historical and current examples of how the Palestinian people have been and are still being targeted, as well as the complicity of the Canadian state in this dispossession. Both speakers concluded with a call to support the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions BDS movement.

    Download the audio files of the show to listen to the two speakers at this important session.

    Sid Shniad’s talk:
    VOP_Oct12a_2016.mp3 [http://www.voiceofpalestine.ca/AudioFiles/VOP_Oct12a_2016.mp3]

    Hanna Kawas’ Power-point presentation:
    VOP_Oct12b_2016 2.mp3 [http://www.voiceofpalestine.ca/AudioFiles/VOP_Oct12b_2016%202.mp3]"

    See: http://www.voiceofpalestine.ca/?p=4811

    Therefore I ask you, Elizabeth, as leader of the Green Party of Canada:

    1. Do you agree in principle with the definition of genocide, according to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide?

    For reference:
    “According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide includes various acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” as such, including:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    © Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group."

    2. Do you agree that Canada has a “responsibility to protect” victims of genocide, as endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity?

    3. Is the Green Party of Canada committed to international humanitarian law and the prevention of genocide and other crimes against humanity?

    4. Do you agree that Israel has committed genocide as per its definition under international law?

    5. Do you feel that the policy positions you are presently advocating for the GPC (i.e. failure to name Israel’s violations of international humanitarian law in GPC policy and opposition to boycott, divestment and sanctions of any kind against Israel in defense of Palestinians) is an adequate response to the crime of genocide, among other violations of which Israel is accuse?

    6. If the crimes Israel is perpetrating against Palestinians was being perpetrated against Jews, would you advocate a similarly neutral policy to the one you are advocating in the case of the Israel/Palestine conflict?

    7. Should your policy position prevail and the BDS policy is reversed, do you think that in 5-10-20 years from now that you or future members of the GPC will be proud of this moment in the party’s history?
  • commented 2016-11-05 16:40:21 -0700
    Re: “The Green Party of Canada believes that any effort aimed only at one side in this conflict will not end the violent responses that exacerbate human suffering. Canada’s role in the Middle East should be to reduce tensions, find working solutions, and uphold international humanitarian law, not to take sides in this chronic conflict. We must work towards a mutually acceptable compromise that will achieve a lasting peace between, and among, the Israelis and Palestinians.”

    The GPC can not credibly claim that it values “international humanitarian law” if out of some misguided notion of neutrality it fails to affirm what international law defines and obliges, namely:

    1. The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG), UN General Assembly Resolution 260, obliges all participating countries to prevent and punish actions of genocide.

    In an opinion published by Centre for Constitutional Rights, titled, “The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective” states:

    “According to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide includes various acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” as such, including:
    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    © Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

    This definition is reflected in Article 6 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which has jurisdiction over crimes occurring on the territory of the State of Palestine since June 13, 2014.

    The Genocide Convention was written in the aftermath of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust, especially to deter and prevent such horrors in the future and, failing that, to punish those responsible. The Convention thus provided a legal framework that clearly identifies the essence of the crime of genocide, regardless of the political, social, or cultural permutations in which the crime may be attempted or carried out and regardless of the specific qualities, stage, or scale of the genocidal process. The Holocaust set the terms by which a form of general or pervasive violence against a group might be legitimately termed “genocide” as a general sociological concept as it need not “imply a comparison to any other specific case.”

    The report continues:

    “Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, testified in 2013 that “The Palestinians have been the victims of genocide as defined by the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.”[ He argued that:

    “For over the past six and one-half decades, the Israeli government and its predecessors in law – the Zionist agencies, forces, and terrorist gangs – have ruthlessly implemented a systematic and comprehensive military, political, religious, economic, and cultural campaign with the intent to destroy in substantial part the national, ethnical, racial, and different religious group (Jews versus Muslims and Christians) constituting the Palestinian people.”"

    The report concludes that:

    “Prominent human rights advocates and scholars have argued that the killings of Palestinians and their forceful expulsion from mandate Palestine in 1948, the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza, and the violence and discrimination directed at Palestinians by the Israeli government have violated a number of human rights protections contained in international human rights law, genocide being among them.”

    See: The Genocide of the Palestinian People: An International Law and Human Rights Perspective. Centre for Constitutional Rights, August 25, 2016. – https://ccrjustice.org/genocide-palestinian-people-international-law-and-human-rights-perspective

    2. Canada has a “responsibility to protect” as endorsed by all member states of the United Nations at the 2005 World Summit to prevent genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.

    UN member states have agreed to hold holding each other accountable to prevent the aforementioned crimes. Where any state is unable or unwilling to protect its people, the responsibility shifts to the international community and the principle of non-intervention yields to the international responsibility to protect people in danger. Such intervention is first to be attempted through humanitarian, diplomatic, or other peaceful means, but should these fail, the international community is obliged to take timely and decisive action.

    Furthermore, the Global Greens Charter, to which the GPC is a signatory, recognizes “that many of the world’s peoples and nations have been impoverished by the long centuries of colonisation and exploitation, creating an ecological debt owed by the rich nations to those that have been impoverished,” and commits its participants to, “building a citizenship based on equal rights for all individuals in all spheres of social, economic, political and cultural life.”

    We enjoy rights because others accept the responsibility to uphold them. This is the essence of the social contract. Policy which refuses to affirm Canada’s legal responsibility to protect victims of crimes against humanity effectively rejects international human rights law that was largely a response to the horrors of the Holocaust. This is not a neutral position, it is to collude in these crimes to the benefit of its perpetrators and at the expense of its victims, endangering us all by encouraging future perpetrators. In the case of Israel’s racist, colonial program to annex Palestinian territory and ethnically cleans its indigenous population in order to establish Jewish-only settlements, it is to collude in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

    Upholding international humanitarian law is not to pick a side in a conflict, it is to uphold the universality of human rights for the benefit and protection of all humanity. Failing to do so is not ethical, not in keeping with Green values.

    Policy resolution G16-P006, “Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions,” the that was passed the the GPC’s convention earlier this year, corrects the glaring contradiction evident Vision Green’s rhetoric and gives teeth to the otherwise effectively meaningless resolutions, G14-P22 and G14­-P58. G16-P006 endorses only a limited form of boycott divestment and sanctions, only targeted at business that operate within the occupied Palestinian territories, instead of the full economic, academic and cultural boycott advocated by the Palestinian lead global BDS movement. It is a baby step for a supposedly egalitarian and progressive party that claims “diversity” and “social justice” as core values.