By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 - 0 Comments
The UN voted 138-9 this evening to give the Palestinians non-member observer status. Canada joined the United States, Israel, the Czech Republic, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau and Panama in opposing the move. Forty-one countries abstained, including the United Kingdom. Here apparently is the official roll call.
Here is the text of John Baird’s speech at the UN today.
This resolution will not advance the cause of peace or spur a return to negotiations. Will the Palestinian people be better off as a result? No. On the contrary, this unilateral step will harden positions and raise unrealistic expectations while doing nothing to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.
A government official is suggesting “thoughtful and deliberate” action will be taken as a result.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 1:44 PM - 0 Comments
Accordingly, only an immediate return to direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians – and one based on the principle of mutual recognition of two states for two peoples – will invite the establishment of the just and lasting peace that we all seek. Indeed, it would be the supreme irony if the UN General Assembly were to circumvent the legal and political imperatives of direct negotiations leading to such an outcome precisely on the 65th anniversary of its earlier UN partition resolution, which the Arab leadership rejected then, and the Palestinian leadership, regrettably, is undermining now.
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM - 0 Comments
John Baird is in New York today to vote against a resolution that would recognize Palestine as a non-voting observer state at the United Nations. The Prime Minister referred to the resolution as a “shortcut” yesterday and has reportedly pressured Mahmoud Abbas to drop the bid. Campbell Clark now considers what Canada might do in response to the resolution passing.
Michael Petrou makes the case that Canada should support Palestinian membership.
After QP yesterday, Liberal MP Irwin Cotler explained why he doesn’t support the resolution.
This démarche by the Palestinians, I’ve said this to Mr. Abbas, I’m not saying anything to [you], ’ve not said to him, I met with him over the past year several times and the Palestinians leaders and I said that this is a breach of Israel-Palestinian agreement. It’s a breach of international agreements, UN Security Council resolutions, etc., calling for direct negotiations between the parties as a basis for just and lasting peace. It’s a breach of a whole series of bilateral agreements with as a result of this mega-rupture, so I think it’s a mistake as a matter of law, as a matter of policy and a mistake in terms of seeking, on the 65th anniversary of that initial resolution, the same two states for two peoples…
Our position should be to bring the parties together for direct negotiations without preconditions, with a view to addressing all of the standing issues that remain on the agenda and with a view to securing, as I say, a just and lasting peace. I think that should be our approach. I think that the extent that we object, our objection should be that this unilateral initiative is in breach of the UN’s own resolutions and in breach of Israeli-Palestinian bilateral agreements and international agreements.
The NDP questioned Mr. Baird on the government’s approach during QP yesterday.
By John Geddes - Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 9:09 AM - 15 Comments
In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, Foreign Minister John Baird declared Canada’s unbending support for the rights of religious and other minority groups wherever they live.
Baird cited the plights of, among others, the Bahá’í in Iran, Christians in China, Buddhists and Muslims in Burma, gays and lesbians in Uganda. Standing up for minorities abroad who are not accorded full and equal rights—or, worse, are persecuted and oppressed—by the majority groups in their countries is also a preoccupation of Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
In light of this principled concern being put at the centre of Canadian foreign policy, it would be interesting to hear Baird or Kenney on the matter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that the Palestinians recognize his country as a “Jewish state” as a precondition to any negotiations toward a peace deal.