Sent: Tuesday, October 26, 2004 6:17 PM
Subject: Canadian Support for UNRWA.
Canada Palestine Association,
Halifax, NS, B3J 2X1
The Right Hon. Mr Pierre Pettigrew,
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
Dear Mr. Pettigrew:
We are calling on you, to maintain if not increase support for the
humanitarian work that the United Nations for Relief and Work Agency
[UNRWA], does for the Palestinian refugees. There are today five
million Palestinian refugees, the largest refugee population in the world, who
were systematically expelled from their homes in Palestine by Israel. These
refugees are living in intolerable conditions in refugee camps in Lebanon,
Syria, Jordan, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. They are being barely sustained
by the UNRWA contribution in the fields of health, education and
The news of an organised campaign by Israel and Israeli
apologists in Canada, calling on our government to stop the aid to UNRWA, is the
height of outrageous hypocrisy and inhumanity. The state of Israel has committed
the crime of expelling these refugees from their homes, and continues to refuse
to allow them the right to return to their homes, in continued defiance of
international law, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
and repeated UN resolutions. Instead of bringing aid and restitution to
the Palestinian refugees, Israel is continuing its murderous campaign against
these refugees in Gaza, Rafah, Balata and Jenin refugee camps. Israeli practices
against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, including detention without
charge or trial, torture, collective punishments, extra-judicial assassination
and murder by aircraft bombing and missiles, demolition of thousands of homes
and expropriation of land for the creation of illegal Jewish settlements, are in
violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and thus identified
by international law as war crimes.
This imposes a responsibility on Canada, as a High
Contracting Party, as stated in Article One of the Fourth
Geneva Convention, to take action to enforce Israeli compliance with
the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israeli charges against UNRWA and its Coordinator, Mr.
Hansen, are mendacious and have been shown to be utterly
Finally, Sir, we are calling on our government to act, in accordance
with the principles of human rights and international legitimacy that we
claim to uphold, and sustain our contribution to UNRWA, and call on the
international community, to enforce UN resolutions and allow the Palestinian
refugees the right of choice to return to their homes.
Ismail Zayid, MD.
President, Canada Palestine Association.