Send letter to Canadian Government---Gaza 2020: International Solidarity for Palestinians calls for Economic Sanctions & Military Embargo

November 2019

Write a letter to the Canadian government in solidarity with Palestinians. November 29, 2019, is International Day of Solidarity with Palestinians.

One year ago, in November 2018, over 100 Canadian groups including human rights, international justice, civil society, faith groups and other civil society organizations brought to your attention Al-Haq’s Gaza 20/20 campaign. This campaign is internationally focused on bringing consciousness to the grave situation for Palestinians in Gaza and specifically urges governments to call the Israeli government to account.  In Canada, Just Peace Advocates partnered with Al-Haq to bring this message to the Canadian government to pursue accountability through both international and domestic law.

This campaign was inspired after the 2017 UN warned that Gaza is expected to be uninhabitable by 2020. In this deeply worrying report,  the UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities noted that Gaza’s trajectory of “de-development” has accelerated. For the nearly 2 million Palestinians in Gaza, Israel’s persecution and collective punishment had already made life there unbearable.

Leading up to November 29 write to remind Prime Minister Trudeau and the leaders of the other federal parties, and Canadian diplomats:

1.     that the imposed land, sea and air blockade on Gaza now in its TWELFTH YEAR  severely restricts imports and exports, the movement of people in and out of Gaza, access to adequate healthcare, education, and livelihoods including agricultural land and fishing, with the economy being close to collapse. This blockade for the Palestinians of Gaza is a denial of basic human rights and amounts to collective punishment.

2.     there have been over 200 Palestinians killed and approximately 34,000 injuries since March 2018 by the Israel military during the weekly peaceful “Great March of Return” demonstrations. This use of excessive and unlawful lethal force against civilian protesters action is a violation International Humanitarian Law.  The United Nations (UN) Commission of Inquiry established pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution S-28/1 reported earlier this year.  Evidence suggests these acts may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

3.     On November 15, 2019, Canada stepped out of line from the international community, and abstained from the United Nations General Assembly resolution to renew UNRWA’s Mandate for five years until 2023.The vote passed 170-2 with only Israel and the USA voting against the resolution, and Canada was one of seven countries that abstained. This is shameful and shows that Canada indeed cannot be serious about its bid for the 2020 selection of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC).  This was one of two abstentions and six "no" votes at UNGA on November 15, 2016. On Nov. 19th, Canada did vote in favour of self-determination of the Palestinian people, the first time since 2006 that Canada has supported this resolution. While the Nov. 19 UNGA vote by Canada is welcome news, it certainly a consistent turn to put Canada in line with the international community would be needed in order to show seriousness about the bid for the UNSC seat.

4.     Ongoing Israeli military airstrikes have occurred during the years since the last full out attack in 2014 by Israel on the Palestinians of Gaza, and this has again increased dramatically during in the week of November 11 with many deaths and injuries and destroyed infrastructure.  Your twitter response in support of Israel is shameful.  I call on you to take seriously the violations of international law, and the Canadian government’s responsibility under its international obligations and its own 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.”

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