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Canada’s UN ambassador supports Israeli expansion by peace process

Bob Rae pretends the ‘peace process’ is something other than a cynical tactic designed by Israel to annex all Palestinian land

Canadian PoliticsMiddle EastWar Zones

Israeli settlement in the West Bank near Za’atara. Photo by Ralf Roletschek/Wikimedia Commons.

Bob Rae, Canada’s United Nations ambassador, recently stated that “the ultimate responsibility for the conduct of the [Gaza] war lies with the parties who are fighting.” In so doing, Rae, a former Rhodes scholar, ignores the United States’ pivotal role in providing Israel with weapons, money and diplomatic support. Of course, Rae’s official rhetoric must reflect Canada’s deference to US Middle East policy.

This superpower-backing facilitates Israel’s indifference to international law on the matter of territorial seizure, occupation, settlement and resource extraction in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), Gaza and the Syrian Golan Heights. Therefore, all Palestinian negotiators face the combined force of the US and Israel who, together, reserve the right to define peace. Perhaps Rae did not study the traditional prerogative of power: the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.

In spite of his status as an elite scholar, politician and diplomat, Rae’s commentary reflects ignorance of the following events. At the end of the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel seized and occupied the Golan Heights, the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem in violation of international law that forbids the retention and development of captured territory. After 1973 the illegal settlement program accelerated and the so-called peace process has since allowed Israel’s gradual seizure of all valuable Palestinian territory.

In addition to UN Resolution 242, both the Camp David and Oslo Accords state that the West Bank is the foundation of a future Palestinian state. In 2002, a fair and lasting peace seemed very possible but Israel chose to keep conquered territory rather than accept the Arab Peace Initiative, which was endorsed by the Arab League’s 22 members during a 2002 summit in Beirut.

This proposal from the major Arab states offered the “establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel in return for the… full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”

The current situation supports the notion that Israel’s current government remains faithful to the pre-state founders’ ultimate goal of seizing the West Bank, Gaza, Jerusalem, the Golan and also southern Lebanon, the Sinai and southern Syria. They call this Eretz Yisrael, otherwise known as the promised land of biblical legend. Israel’s only permanent border has been its coastline.

Despite Rae’s silence on the matter, he must also be aware of Israel’s history of suppressing Arab nationalism and assisting the US government in its long-standing policy of controlling Middle East petroleum resources. As well, he must know of Israel’s role as a US military proxy and purveyor of surveillance and so-called counter-insurgency tactics refined through use against Palestinians in Gaza and the OPT.

Therefore, Rae and the Canadian government remain willing to pretend that the so-called peace process is something other than Israel’s cynical delaying tactic designed to annex all valuable Palestinian territory.

Under the circumstances, why should Palestinians meekly accept Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and believe that these and future settlements are not part of an established Israeli policy of isolation and incremental annexation?

Perhaps Bob Rae might consider the notion that a bi-national state in Palestine with equal rights for Jews, Muslims, Christians and others is the only fair arrangement. In fact, it is probably inevitable.

Morgan Duchesney is a Canadian writer and Karate teacher whose work has appeared in Humanist Perspectives, Adbusters, Briarpatch, Canadian Dimension, Shintani Harmonizer, Victoria Standard, the Hampton Institute and the Ottawa Citizen. In addition to political writing, Morgan has published martial arts work and short fiction.

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