Below is a letter from Hanna Kawas, Chairperson of Canada Palestine Association, to Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin regarding threats from the Canadian Foreign Minister against the UN Relief and Works Agency for employing Hamas members. Hanna points to the number of Palestinians killed over the last week and a half, while below his letter is a second letter from the Christian Peace Makers Team which documents settler attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren and team members. Both letters illustrate the biased nature of Canadian government response and interests.
From: Hanna Kawas
Sent: October 9, 2004 1:13 PM
Subject: Silence On Israeli Terrorism Is COMPLICITY
The Right Honourable Paul Martin
Prime Minister of Canada
Dear Prime Minister:
Over the past ten days, 112 Palestinians were killed, including five just today. So far we did not hear any condemnation from Canada, as a party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, regarding this Israeli terrorism directed against the civilian population of the Palestinian territories. However, during the same period, we did hear threats from the Canadian foreign Minister against UNRWA for employing Hamas members.
In an article in the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, Israeli reporter Amira Hass points out how the Canadian government is more concerned about this subject than even the Israeli government:
“Peter Hansen, the commissioner-general of the UN Relief and Works Agency in the territories, is being persecuted for having spoken the truth: Members of Hamas work in UNRWA. The Canadian Foreign Affairs Department is concerned and the Israeli Foreign Ministry is not upset over the ‘revelation.’”
(What would Israel do without UNRWA? http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/485500.html )
Amira Hass sent the following advice to your government.
“If the Canadian Foreign Affairs Department wishes to understand the phenomenon, it ought to consult sociologists and historians of occupying, colonial regimes rather than rely on superficial intelligence reports.”
Not only are you giving a cover to the Israeli atrocities, your government’s silence on Israeli war crimes amounts to complicity in them.
You are not serving the strategic interests of the Canadian people, the same way George W. Bush is not serving the the strategic interests of the American people.
Following is a report by Christian Peace Makers Teams, which include Canadian and American citizens, who are truly working for Human Rights, Justice and Peace as well as for the strategic interests of the Canadian and American peoples.
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association
October 9, 2004
HEBRON URGENT ACTION: Tell Israeli government to stop settler attacks on Palestinian schoolchildren, CPTers and other international accompaniers
For the second time in ten days, masked men from the Ma’on settlement have attacked internationals who have accompanied Palestinians to and from school. The September 30, 2004 attack resulted in a broken knee and arm for CPTer Kim Lamberty and a punctured lung for CPTer Chris Brown. This afternoon, settlers attacked CPTers Diane Janzen and Diana Zimmerman and Amnesty International field researcher Donatella Rovera with wooden sticks and then attacked a volunteer from Operation Dove, an Italian peace group, breaking his arm (he was videotaping the assault.)
Settlers from Ma’on have been trying to drive out the Palestinian residents of this remote area in the Hebron District for years, physically assaulting them, killing their livestock and burning their crops. Because settler harassment of Palestinian children on their way to school in al-Tuwani had become progressively more vicious, CPT, along with Operation Dove and Taayush, an Israeli peace group, set up an accompaniment project beginning on September 12, 2004.
CPT is asking its supporters to fax or call the Israeli ambassadors to Canada and the U.S., saying they are aware of the attacks on the CPTers.
(Canadians, note that Diane Janzen is a Canadian citizen.) Ask the following
*Why are the Israeli police not protecting Palestinian children traveling to school in al-Tuwani? Note that harassment of the children has been ongoing and that the police appear to be choosing not to prevent further settler attacks on international volunteers
*What steps is the Israeli government taking to prevent these attacks?
*Why do the soldiers and settler security personnel prevent the children from walking on the road near Ma’on settlement to get to school, ignoring the permission the children have received from the Israeli District Coordinating Officer and the Israeli police to walk on that road?
* Does the Ambassador understand how allowing settlers to attack schoolchildren and internationals committed to nonviolence damages Israel’s reputation?
People may also choose to fax Ariel Sharon, noting that he has closely aligned himself with settlers in the past, and asking him what steps he is taking to prevent further attacks. Note that he has ordered one of the Ma’on “outpost” settlements from which the attackers came demolished to appease the Bush administration.
[Note: The fax numbers for the Israeli embassy in Ottawa and for Prime Minister Sharon were not picking up as of 2:00 on Saturday, possibly because of the Jewish Sabbath. Try sending on Sunday or Monday.)
Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Haim Divon (Ottawa)
Israeli Ambassador to the United States (Washington,DC) fax: 202-364-5607
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon