Please find below, Alexa MDonough's letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham, demanding Canada release publicly, its submission to the International Court of Justice:
February 12, 2004
Honourable Bill Graham, Minister of Foreign Affairs
418-N Centre Block, House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Canada is to be commended for supporting the October 21, 2003 UN resolution demanding Israel stop its construction of a separation wall within the Occupied Territories.
The New Democratic Party is unequivocal in our condemnation of the expropriation of the land within the Territories - including valuable aquifers - for construction of the wall.
The wall does nothing to advance a long-term peaceful solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rather it inflames an already volatile situation in that region by destroying people's property, separating families from their land, water, and their communities, and further inhibiting their mobility within their own territories.
Initial environmental studies raise alarming concerns about the long-term environmental harm caused by this horrendous monstrosity, that I have witnessed first-hand during my Peace Seeking Mission to the Middle East last year.
We are therefore deeply distressed by Canada's abstention from the December 8, 2003 UN resolution asking the "International Court of Justice (ICJ) to issue an advisory opinion on the legal consequences of Israel's construction of a separation barrier in the West Bank." It is important to note that Israel has, by virtue of signing the UN Charter setting up the ICJ, accepted the legitimacy and jurisdiction of the ICJ.
No country can legitimately question Israel's right to protect itself and its citizens against harm. Had Israel built the wall along the 'Green Line', the debate would have been a different one.
However, this wall amounts to annexation by Israel of water-rich lands and olive groves within the Occupied Territories. Denying Palestinians access to their land and water is morally reprehensible and does nothing to improve the security of the people of Israel.
It is deeply disappointing that Israel has decided to formally boycott the ICJ hearing on February 23, despite having already made a written submission to the Court.
As one of the forty-four countries that have submitted a statement it is incumbent upon the federal government to publicly release that document for public scrutiny and public debate within Canada. I trust Canada has not argued in its submission that the ICJ does not have the legal purview to render an opinion on the wall.
I urge you to release this document immediately in order to allow a full public debate on Canada's position regarding the wall, and what actions Canada has undertaken to advance the dismantling of the wall and the resumption of peace negotiations between Palestine and Israel.
ORIGINALLY SIGNED BY,
Alexa McDonough, MP Halifax
NDP Foreign Affairs Critic
V. Anthony Salloum
Legislative and Communications Assistant - Adjoint Législatif; Adjoint aux communications
Alexa McDonough, MP/ Députée Halifax
Foreign Affairs and International Development Critic; Porte-parole pour les affaires étrangères et le développement international;
Lead Peace Advocate; Intervenante principale du NPD concernant la paix
Tel: 995-4492 Fax: 992-8569 www.ndp.ca