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Letter and Reply from Lloyd Axworthy
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February 28, 1999

The Hon. Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons, Ottawa, ON

Dear Sir:

The Government of Canada has shamefully betrayed Israel. By your recent support for the UN resolution of February 9 calling for an international conference to examine Israel's settlement policy as a violation of the Geneva Convention, you are undermining the Oslo Accords. The question of statehood was to be negotiated bilaterally in talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

You have apparently decided that Canada should be instrumental in establishing a PLO-Hamas State and that Israel must return to the indefensible green line. You have been willfully complicit in the campaign to undermine the Jewish historical claim to an undivided Jerusalem, in spite of the fact that Jerusalem has been the spiritual and political capital of only the Jewish people for 3,000 years. Judaism is the only religion in which the city of Jerusalem is an inseparable part of religious faith and Jews alone are mandated by Biblical law to celebrate their religion in Jerusalem. Israel's Biblical right to Jerusalem and to the territories of Judea & Samaria is by Divine mandate as secured by the Almighty's irrevocable covenant with Abraham's descendents through Isaac and Jacob. Jerusalem will be the flash point that inflames the hatred of the UN vs. Israel. The outcome of the final war over Jerusalem was prophesied in the Bible thousands of years ago and the consequences to those nations complicit in it (see Zechariah chapter 12).

The Government of Canada's disinterest in the Jewish people is nothing new; for example, when Canada turned away the ship St. Louis from our shores and its occupants to face certain death in Europe. The Government of Mackenzie King refused entry to Jews fleeing the Holocaust saying, "One Jew is too many." In 1957, our peacekeepers and the other UN forces abandoned their duty in the Sinai and withdrew in order that Nasser could "finish off Israel." In 1996 the Liberals strongly condemned Israel for merely opening a door in a water tunnel that Jews built thousands of years ago and is entirely outside the Temple Mount.

Jews were accused of being "the problem" in Hitler's Germany and now are being accused by Canada and the UN of being the problem blocking peace in the mid-east. Another holocaust of the Jewish people is predictable in Israel and you, Mr. Axworthy are only inflaming the situation by your policies and grandstanding. Where is your outcry against the human rights abuses of the P.A. vs. the Palestinian people, e.g. the official policy of putting to death anyone who sells land to a Jew, or the misuse of foreign aid by corrupt officials, or the curriculum in the schools by which the young children are conditioned to sacrifice their lives for a jihad against Israel?

On April 18, 1998, Yasser Arafat stated in an interview on Egyptian Orbit-TV that the Oslo accords mandated truce is a temporary measure in keeping with Muhammed's example 1,300 years ago in dealing with the Koreish tribe. Muhammed broke that treaty when it suited him. Arafat said he envied the Palestinian suicide bombers as martyrs and hoped some day to be one himself.

False peace is not peace.

Yours truly,

(A Concerned Citizen)


Response: (dated August 5, 1999)

Dear Concerned Citizen:

Canada's voting record in the United Nations reflects longstanding principles of Canadian foreign policy. Each United Nations resolution is carefully assessed against these principles before voting instructions are given to our delegation in New York. Canada opposes all attempts to prejudge the outcome of negotiations by one-sided resolutions in international forums. Successive Canadian governments have been concerned that the polemical nature of many resolutions diverts UN agencies from pursuing their mandates. Canada has strongly opposed any move to suspend or expel Israel from the United Nations or its specialized agencies. However, when UN resolutions, such as the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention to the Occupied Territories, have identified Israeli actions as unjust, Canada has supported them along with virtually all of its Western allies.

Canada voted in favour of the February 9 resolution due to our continued concerns about Israeli settlement activities in East Jerusalem and in the Occupied Territories. While Canada expressed reservations regarding the language in the resolution, on balance the decision was taken to maintain our consistent position of opposing ongoing Israeli settlement activities as a violation of international law and as unnecessarily harmful to the peace process.

During my November 1997 trip to the Middle East, I had the opportunity to visit Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem. I will long remember the experience. At that time, I expressed Canada's regret that Jewish refugees were refused asylum by so many nations during the Second World War era and declared our commitment to preventing this from ever happening again. This commitment is confirmed by our adherence to the 1951 Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees and the incorporation of its relevant provisions into Canada's immigration legislation.

Canada is very concerned about and continues to monitor the human rights situation in the West Bank and Gaza. We do not hesitate to express our concerns where we feel it is justified. During the visit to Canada of PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat on March 24, 1999, Prime Minister Chretien raised all elements of our human rights concerns. Incidents of arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment of detainees, custodial death and summary trials over the past year are of serious concern.

Canada believes that the Middle East Peace Process is the best hope for peace and stability in the Middle East. We are actively engage in encouraging Israel and the Palestinians to negotiate a just, lasting comprehensive peace. We believe that the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Arab-Israeli dispute, and oppose Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem. While we recognize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and we do not rule out the eventual possibility of the creation of a Palestinian state, it remains Canada's view that this is a matter for negotiation between the concerned parties as part of the Middle East Process.

May I assure you that Canada remains a good friend of Israel, and a strong supporter of the Middle East Peace Process as the best hope for peace and stability in the Middle East. Thank you again for writing.

Sincerely,

Lloyd Axworthy
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ottawa, Canada K1A OG2

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