The Harper government and the ethnic cleansing of Palestine

The Harper government’s stance against Palestinians is perpetuating the Nakba

Illustration by Latuff

As the 67th year remembrance year of the Palestinian Nakba passes and federal elections in Canada approach, there is one aspect of the Harper government that will be remembered regardless of the election outcomes: his unequivocal and unwavering support for the state of Israel.

The Harper government’s stance toward Israel has gone beyond comprehension, even shaming the United States for their position on Israel.

The Nakba

The Nakba, also known as the ‘Catastrophe,’ is the Palestinian remembering of their dispossession and displacement caused by ethnic cleansing implemented against 750,000 Palestinians by the Zionist movement.

This brought about the state of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians on May 15, 1948, and served as an erasure process that continues today through bureaucratic and military means.

Palestinians were forcibly dispossessed and displaced into refugee camps and neighboring countries, or were internally displaced into what are now known as the 1967 borders of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Some remained and now represent 20 per cent of Israel’s total population, living as third class citizens. This ethnic cleansing process included mass rapes and massacres such as Deir Yassin.

Canada, Israel’s ally

The Harper government has refused to acknowledge the plight of the Palestinians and has perpetuated this suffering in a deliberate manner.

For example, the Harper government stopped funding the Canadian Arab Federation – a pro-Palestinian lobby group – and the decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada.

The Conservatives also accused one of Canada’s most respectable unions (the Canadian Union of Public Employees) of being ‘intolerant’ in its decision to join the Boycott Divestment and Sanction campaign.

Speaking of ‘intolerance,’ the Harper government banned George Galloway, a Member of the British Parliament from entering the country under the guise of security concerns even though the Canadian Security Intelligence Service explicitly stated that he was not a threat and was scheduled to speak in New York soon after.

It turns out that the Harper government was making decisions based on lobbying groups such as the Canadian Jewish Congress that resented George Galloway for his strong and successful pro-Palestinian activism and accused him of supporting Hamas, deemed to be a terrorist organization by Canada.

Notwithstanding the problematic nature of Hamas, the party won democratic elections monitored and confirmed by the Carter Foundation. In fact, Canada under Harper was the first in the world to denounce those elections even before the state of Israel itself.

The Harper government decided post-elections to withhold funding to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, which administers Palestinian refugee affairs, and instead transferred these funds toward a counter-insurgency plan known as the Dayton Project. This project was used to train the opposing political party Fatah to take down a democratically elected government with the assistance and training of the Canada Border Services Agents in the name of upholding and preserving Canada’s democratic values.

The Harper government has also given the Jewish Defense League the right to legally operate an office headquartered on Canadian soil. The Jewish Defense League is considered and designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and even Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League has criticized and denounced the Jewish Defense League for its violent extremism and racism against Arabs. The Jewish Defense League has even made alliances with white supremacist groups like the British Nationalist Party, joining forces in their Islamophobic and anti-Arab code of conduct.

The Harper government has been vocal in its lack of respect for international law, especially on issues pertaining to Israel’s permanent violation of Palestinian people’s rights. Canada lost its seat bid at the United Nations Security Council due to its support for Israel’s conduct towards the Palestinians.

Canada’s international reputation has been further damaged with its decision to refuse a United Nations plan to hold a disarmament conference in the Middle East in relation to nuclear weapons, which would have held Israel accountable to its undeclared nuclear weapons.

Last but not least, with the recent introduction of the draconian Bill C-51, which gives excessive powers to police and security apparatuses for surveillance and arrests, the Harper government is seemingly heading towards the criminalization of any criticism of policies and conduct of the state of Israel towards the Palestinians in the name of fighting hate speech and Anti-Semitism.

The Harper government’s recent stance on Israel’s military bombardment campaign known as Operation Protective Edge has prompted an incitement of genocide against the Harper government. The siege resulted in the destruction of an entire civilian infrastructure and severe civilian casualties, including the bombing of United Nations-run schools.

An international investigation into war crimes committed during Operation Protective Edge was heavily criticized and shunned by the Harper government.

The Harper government is aiding and abetting the Nakba or ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians through its stance and policies, reflecting the ‘new anti-Semitism’ trend that every Canadian tax payer and voter holds responsibility for directly or indirectly. It is time for Canadians to engage in the highest form of citizenry by saying “no” to the Harper government.