Gaza 20/20: Call to Canadian Government for Sanctions until the Blockade on Gaza is Lifted

Organizations are invited to sign this letter, which will be sent in later November be to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. We encourage all groups in Canada to sign, but also will welcome international and groups from other jurisdictions to sign in solidarity. Note: this letter has been adjusted from the original.

Those wishing to sign individual petition can do so at: https://www.justpeaceadvocates.ca/gaza_20_20_perceptions_and_realities

Letters for individuals to send, along with details for making contact by phone/meeting with your elected federal officials will be provided shortly.

The names of organizations signing the letter below will be added to post of this letter at www.justpeaceadvocates.ca over the coming days.


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Dear Prime Minister Trudeau

Last year, the UN warned that Gaza is expected to be uninhabitable by the year 2020. In the deeply worrying report, the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities notes that Gaza’s trajectory of “de-development” has accelerated. For the nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s persecution and collective punishment has already made life there unbearable.

We bring to your attention Al-Haq’s Gaza 20/20 campaign which is internationally focused on bringing consciousness to the grave situation, urging governments to call the Israeli government to account.

In Canada, Just Peace Advocates has partnered with Al Haq to bring this message to you personally, with a call to the Canadian government to pursue accountability through both international and domestic law.

International Law: Under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, all High Contracting Parties (which includes Canada), are required to take action to ensure respect for the Convention “in all circumstances.”

Domestic Law: Under the Special Economic Measures Act, the Canadian government can impose sanctions when “gross and systematic human rights violations have been committed in a foreign state.”

A 2017 EKOS poll indicated that two-thirds of Canadians indicated support for sanctions on Israel.

On October 22, 2018, Canadian law professor Michael Lynk, who serves as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, issued his most recent report to the UN General Assembly. He pointed out the continued deterioration of almost all aspects of life in Gaza over the past year, as the Palestinian people struggle with the impact of an 11 year blockade of air, sea and land access by Israel. He also highlighted the excessive use of Israeli military force against protesters, noting in the context of an occupation such as that in Gaza, killings resulting from the unlawful use of force may constitute willful killings, a grave breach of the Geneva Conventions, and that grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions are categorized by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court as war crimes.

The Special Rapporteur’s report calls on Israel to take a number of important steps, including:

End the blockade and closure of Gaza, lifting all restrictions on imports and exports as well as on the movement of people, and facilitate full access to medical care, consistent with genuine Israeli security concerns;

Ensure that regulations governing the use of force for Israeli security forces are in strict compliance with international standards, with particular attention to the use of deadly force; and

Ensure accountability for alleged violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law by Israeli security forces, with particular attention to the demonstrations in Gaza;

The Special Rapporteur further recommends that the international community:

(a) In line with Common Article 1 to the Geneva Conventions, take all necessary measures to respect and ensure respect by Israel, and all other relevant parties, to the solemn obligations of international humanitarian law;

(b) Seek to hold Israel to the international standards by which all states are to be held, including the prohibition on annexation; and

(c) Ensure full accountability of Israeli political and military officials who are responsible for grave breaches of international law in the occupied Palestinian territory;

As civil society organizations, we come together to call the Canadian government to take all possible action to address this mounting human rights and humanitarian crisis under relevant Canadian laws, including the Special Economic Measures Act, and specifically to live up to our country’s responsibilities under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

As a minimum, we call on the Canadian government to:

-publicly condemn Israeli security operations in Gaza and demand an end to all breaches of international humanitarian law and international human rights law;

-insist that Israel end its blockade of Gaza; and

-implement an arms embargo and press for a comprehensive arms embargo at the level of the UN Security Council; as well as

-impose a ban on all goods originating from illegal Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory entering Canada as well as a ban on Canadian companies operating in illegal settlements or trading in settlement goods.

Sincerely,


Sincerely,

Just Peace Advocates/Mouvement Pour Une Paix Juste
Al-Haq, Palestine
approximately 100 organizations have now signed


Cc:
Michael Bosner, Minister-Counsellor to Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations
Michael Levitt
Justice and Human Rights Government Standing Committee c/o Chair, Anthony Housefather
Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Group c/o Chair, MP Tabbara
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Senate Standing Committee, c/o Chair A. Raynell Adreychuk
Human Rights Senate Standing Committee, c/o Chair Wanda Elaine Thomas Bernard
Leader of Green Party of Canada, Elizabeth May
Leader of Conservative Party of Canada, Andrew Scheer
Leader of NDP, Jagmeet Singh
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic, Hélène Laverdière
Conservative Party of Canada Foreign Affairs Critic, Erin O’Toole
Bloc Québécois Foreign Affairs Critic, Luc Thériault
Deborah Lyons: Canadian Ambassador to Israel
Douglas Proudfoot: Representative of Canada to the Palestinian Authority
Nabil Maroof: Chief Representative, Palestinian General Delegation, Palestinian Delegation to Canada


(note: links will be added to letter when it is sent, google documents does not allow for links to appear in the text).

For more information check out www.alhaq.org and www.justpeaceadvocates.ca

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