The Canadian Jewish News,
February 18, 1999
Last week, during an "emergency special session" of the United Nations General Assembly
(GA), Canada voted to support a resolution calling for the signatories to the Fourth Geneva
Convention to meet in Switzerland to examine Israel's settlements policy and its treatment of the
Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The special session was convened at the behest of Yasser
Arafat and the PNC. The final vote was 115 in favor; two opposed (Israel and the United States); five
abstentions; and 36 absent.
The convention was enshrined in 1949 as a result of the racist and genocidal policies of the
Nazis. It was an addition to the original Geneva Conventions of 1864, which were the first
international effort to codify rules for the humane treatment of civilians and military personnel in times
Set aside the question of whether the Geneva Convention protocols even apply to the situation
in the West Bank and Gaza. Set aside, too, the fact that more than 95 percent of the Palestinians in
the West Bank and Gaza live under Palestinian and not Israeli rule. The PNC sponsored resolution
was a transparent attempt to demonize Israel, to try, once again, to cast it as a lawless pariah within
the community of law-abiding states. It was a transparent attempt by the Palestinians to circumvent
the Oslo process in resolving its disputes with Israel. It was also, therefore, a flagrant, egregious
affront to the letter and the spirit of Oslo.
Ambassador Michel Duval attempted to soften the sting into Israel's jugular of Canada's
outrageous vote by expressing "regret" at the GA's resort to the emergency session vehicle and to the
inclusion of language that was "complicated" and that "will not benefit the peace process." But his
regret was nothing more than false remorse, serving only to prove Canada's position to be foolish,
inconsistent, hypocritical and illogical, all at the same time.
That Canada was complicit in the attempt to demonize Israel and in the wholesale disregard for
and violation of the Oslo accords, is breathtaking. To have supported a patently partisan, political ploy
aimed so obviously and cynically at harming Israel and that totally flouts basic Canadian norms of
fairness, truth and balance, is a disgrace to the values that we hold so precious.
We condemn the government for its shameful complicity.