From: Ismail Zayid
Sent: Monday, August 05, 2002 8:24 PM
Subject: Re: A-17521-02 In reply to your e-mails of March 20, 29, April 18 and June 24, 2002

Canada Palestine Association.
August 5, 2002
The Honurable Mr. Bill Graham M.P.,
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Dear Mr. Graham,
Thank you for your message dated July 30,2002, in response to my earlier letters.
I appreciate your concern for the need for peace in relation to the Palestine/Israel conflict and your expressions of concern about the variety of Israeli activities in the Occupied Territories. I am,however, puzzled at some of the statements made and the striking omissions that are evident in your statements.
You state, in reference to Canada's declared stand in defending Israel at the UNCHR, : " We firmly believe that the resolutions adopted by the Commission should seek to advance its mandate, namely the promotion and protection of human rights." If this is true, then our government's stand at the UNCHR should be to condemn Israeli practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the stongest possible terms. For the last 35 years Israel has been in blatant violation of  virtually every article of the Fourth Geneva Convention. These violations, referred to in the statement by the Head of the Canadian delegation at the UNCHR, include arbitrary arrest with no trial or charge, torture of prisoners, extra-judicial assassination, collective punishments, deportation of residents, demolition of thousands of homes, expropriation of land, building illegal Jewish settlements and uprooting tens of thousands of olive and fruit trees. Entire villages, like Imwas [Emmaus], Yalu and Beit Nuba [my own home town] have been erased from the face of the earth. Incidentally, at the site of the ruins of these villages stands today the infamy called Canada Park, built with our tax-deductible dollars. All these violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, are considered under international law as war crimes.
There is continuing reference in your statement  that "only a negotiated solution can bring peace". These so-called negotiations have gone on for years, between a mighty occupying power, supported by the US and its allies, and the weak occupied people, and the results are evident. The oppressive occupation continues and the subject people are subjected to the daily humiliation and degradation with all the violations of their human rights. Is it necessary to remind you that Israel stands today in illegal occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, for 35 years, in defiance of international law and repeated Security Council resolutions?
Do you recall the stand that the US and its allies, including Canada, took when Iraq illegally occupied Kuwait for few months. No one would accept negotiation between the occupier and the occupied, and nearly a million troops were sent to devastate the infrastructure of Iraq and force its withdrawal from illegally occupied territory.The Iraqi people have been subjected to massive economic sanctions, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, for non-compliance with a part of one Security Council resolution. The US and its allies are now preparing for the invasion of Iraq because of its refusal to allow UN inspectors. Yet we see Israel in illegal occupation of Palestinian and Syrian territory for 35 years, and standing in defiance of scores of Security Council resolutions and we are told that only negotiations between the two parties can achieve peace. Yet the occupier continues to expropriate land and create more settlements and states defiantly that it will not withdraw from all occupied territories.
You refer to Security Council resolution # 1405, ordering sending UN inspectors to investigate the crimes committed in Jenin, crimes that have been described as war crimes by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Israeli human rights group B'Tselem. Israel refused to allow the inspectors to go. Is it tenable to wonder if the US and its allies are now planning war against Israel, or must Israel remain above international law ? This practice of double standards demolishes any respect for the UN and all the powers that claim to uphold its charter.
You state that :" Canada shares Israel's outrage at the terrorist attacks it has suffered.....and we respect Israel's right to defend itself." This is truly amazing. There is not a word about the illegal occupation, and we are told the illegal occupier has the right to defend itself. Terrorism is solely used to refer to Palestinians, but all Israeli killing of thousands of Palestinians, largely women and children, and all Israeli crimes are never described as state terrorism, including Israeli use of chemical weapons by the Mossad agents, using Canadian passports, as in the attempt to assassinate Khalid Meshal in Amman, in 1997, on the direct orders of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abhorent as the suicide bombing is and the killing of innocent civilians be they Israelis or Palestinians, it is perhaps worthy of note that people who are subjected to daily humiliation and degradation, amongst all other cruelties, are driven in desperation to commit these acts, as they do not have F16's and Apache gunships to retaliate. It must also be stated that international law and the UN Charter entitles people under foreign occupation to resist such occupation. We have all supported the French and others to resist in the forties the Nazi foreign occupation of their land.
Finally,Sir, I agree with you that there is no military solution to this conflict. To obtain security and peace for Israelis and Palestinians, the only solution is for Israel's complete termination of this illegal occupation, and compliance with UN resolutions.
The Palestinians are calling for a modicum of justice, for without justice, I am afraid, there will be no peace for Arab or Jew in the Middle East.
Yours Sincerely,
Ismail Zayid, M.D.
----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, July 30, 2002 2:31 PM
Subject: A-17521-02 In reply to your e-mails of March 20, 29, April 18 and June 24, 2002

> Dr. Ismail Zayid
> President
> Canada Palestine Association
> Dear Dr. Zayid:
> Thank you for your e-mails of March 20, 29, April 18 and June 24, 2002,
> concerning Canada's position on Middle East issues at the 58th Session of
> the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR), and the situation in
> Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.  I am also replying to your correspondence
> addressed to my predecessor, the Honourable John Manley.   I regret the
> delay in replying to you.
> Allow me first to emphasize that Canada's votes on United Nations
> resolutions related to the Middle East, including those tabled at the UNCHR,
> are not directed for or against one party or the other.  Rather, Canada
> judges each resolution on its merits, taking into account changes in the
> text from year to year, as well as the evolving situation on the ground.  We
> then take a position consistent with the principles of our long-standing
> Middle East policy, which is outlined in a document available on our Web
> site at  In all cases, we try to
> maintain a principled and fair-minded approach to all aspects of this
> complex issue.
> As a matter of principle, Canada opposes any and all efforts to undermine
> Israel's legitimacy as a country at the UNCHR or in any other multilateral
> fora.  We firmly believe that resolutions adopted by the Commission should
> seek to advance its mandate, namely the promotion and protection of human
> rights. At the recent session of the UNCHR, Canada worked with others to
> achieve this aim.  We often took the lead in calling for votes on
> resolutions that were inconsistent with Canadian policy and, in our view,
> with the very goals of the Commission itself.
> Canada has a strong, open bilateral relationship with Israel. When we have
> concerns, such as with human rights, we raise them in the context of that
> relationship.  In the statement made by the Head of the Canadian delegation
> at the UNCHR, we raised our concerns about certain Israeli practices,
> including the establishment and expansion of illegal settlements, which
> undermine the hopes of Palestinians and prejudice the prospects for a
> fair-minded peace.  I have attached this year's statement for your
> information.
> Canada, along with others, did not support the resolution calling for a
> mission of enquiry to be led by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
> In our view, the UN Security Council is the most appropriate body to pursue
> such initiatives. Moreover, the Security Council was and remains seized of
> the issue. Furthermore, the resolution did not accurately reflect the full
> context of the current situation in the region, nor did it properly define
> the scope or mandate of such a mission.  While Canada supports third-party
> monitoring accepted by both parties, we do not feel that this mission, as
> envisaged, would have made a positive contribution to the search for peace.
> As regards the incidents in Jenin, Canada is extremely disappointed by the
> Israeli decision not to cooperate with the fact-finding team mandated by the
> United Nations Security Council under Resolution 1405.  We have registered
> our concerns with the Israeli Ambassador and through our Embassy in Tel
> Aviv.  We believe it is imperative that the facts surrounding the events in
> Jenin, both the actions of the Israelis and the Palestinians, are brought to
> light as soon as possible.  Along with 120 countries, including the European
> Union, we have supported a General Assembly vote requesting the Secretary
> General to draw on available resources to complete his report. 
> Canada is deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in the West Bank
> and Gaza. The restrictions on freedom of movement of Palestinians, including
> through checkpoints and road closures, has resulted in increased economic,
> social and humanitarian hardships. We have urged Israel to lift curfews on
> Palestinian towns and cities, and to comply fully with its obligations under
> international humanitarian law.  We have also called on Israel not to impair
> the delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need.   In response to the
> deteriorating humanitarian situation, the Canadian International Development
> Agency is channelling $8 million in further humanitarian assistance through
> the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations Development
> Program and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees.  Since
> the Oslo Agreement was signed in 1993, Canada has provided $215 million in
> assistance to the Palestinian people.
> A just and lasting peace between the parties, together with factors such as
> the continued development of democratic values and institutions, will be
> critical elements in ensuring respect for human rights in the West Bank and
> Gaza.
> I have taken note of your views and concerns about the situation in Israel,
> the West Bank and Gaza. Canada is deeply concerned about the continuing
> violence.  Too many lives have been lost on both sides and we extend
> condolences to the families of all victims, both Israeli and Palestinian.
> Canada continues to believe that only a negotiated solution can bring peace
> to the region and urges both sides to take steps to end the violence and
> resume negotiations aimed at achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive
> peace.  We fully support recent United Nations Security Council resolutions
> which call for a meaningful ceasefire and an end to all acts of terror,
> provocation, incitement and destruction.
> I travelled to the Middle East from May 21 to 27, 2002, to review the
> situation firsthand. I met with Israeli, Palestinian and other regional
> leaders and underscored Canada's strong support for the security of Israel
> and for Palestinian self-determination.  I also stressed that there can be
> no military solution to this conflict.  We will continue to work with the
> parties to encourage them to halt the violence and resume negotiations to
> achieve a just and lasting peace.
> At the recent G8 Foreign Ministers' meeting in Whistler, British Columbia,
> Foreign Ministers discussed the situation in the Middle East and called for
> an immediate end to terrorism and violence. We reaffirmed the vision of a
> region where two states, Israel and Palestine, live side-by-side within
> secure and recognized borders and underlined our commitment to work together
> to sustain the conditions for peace, prosperity, dignity and security in the
> region.
> We remain in touch with the leaders of the region, and review the situation
> regularly with our allies, including the United States. We stand ready to
> support all international efforts to bring about a resolution of the
> conflict.   Thank you again for writing.
> Sincerely,
> Bill Graham
> Geneva, March 2002
> The conflict in the Middle East speaks to our most fundamental values and
> concerns. Values of human rights, governance, democracy, security and
> freedom. Too many Israeli and Palestinian lives have been lost or shattered.
> Clearly, there is no alternative to a peace achieved at the negotiating
> table.Thankfully, there is a glimmer of hope that the tragic violence of
> these past 18 months may be abating. United States Special Envoy to the
> Middle East Anthony Zinni's diligent efforts to secure a cease-fire must
> bear fruit. Attempts to derail the recent progress must not succeed. We
> welcome Israel's restraint in the face of suicide bombings.
> Crown Prince Abdullah's peace initiative is also gaining momentum. Canada
> welcomes the CrownPrince's initiative and expects the Arab League to
> consider seriously the proposal and lend its support to efforts to bring a
> comprehensive peace to the region. The United Nations Commission on Human
> Rights, and more precisely, we as its members, have an obligation to nurture
> such positive developments.We must take care to focus on our task, namely
> the protection and promotion of human rights, and not on issues that do not
> belong here. Declarations which single out one of the parties to the
> conflict do not contribute to a resolution and are more detrimental than
> ever to the diplomatic process. Any process, any statement, any language -
> presented in any forum - that serves to undermine a negotiated peace in the
> Middle East is unacceptable. In this context and in light of some of the
> statements which have been made here, I also wish to reiterate and to put on
> record Canada's strong support for Israel's fundamental right to security,
> its well-being, and its right to live at peace with its neighbours. In that
> vein, I wish to echo the statement of the United Nations Secretary General
> to the UN Security Council earlier this month, in which he called on both
> sides to end the violence and stop the terrible escalation of the conflict.
> We can also aim, in our own work here at the Commission, to reflect the
> spirit of the recent landmark UN Security Council resolution 1397, which
> refers to "two states, Israel and Palestine, living within secure and
> recognized borders." As we have in the past, Canada strongly condemns
> terrorist acts and we call on all parties in the region who truly seek peace
> to condemn such attacks. Canada has always maintained that all peoples in
> the region have a right to security without living in the shadow of terror.
> All states have a right to the recognition and acceptance of their
> neighbours.The political process must be reinvigorated as a matter of
> extreme urgency. We believe that both Israel and the Palestinians must
> reaffirm their commitment to negotiations as the only viable path to a
> comprehensive, just peace. Such a peace, throughout all of the Middle East,
> is the best hope we have to ensure respect for human rights in the region.
> The Government of the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority are
> responsible for ensuring respect for the human rights and fundamental
> freedoms of the citizens of the West Bank and Gaza. Both Israel's occupation
> of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and the
> Palestinian Authority's failures of governance, have resulted in violations
> of human rights and conditions which constitute an impediment to peace.
> Canada continues to oppose illegal Israeli settlement activities in the
> occupied territories, ill-treatment of detainees, land confiscation,
> demolition of civilian housing and other infrastructure, the use of
> administrative detention, and the targeting, without trial, of those
> suspected of terrorist acts.Such practices are inconsistent with
> International Humanitarian law and International Human Rights law.The
> establishment and significant expansion of Israeli settlements in the
> occupied territories, including East Jerusalem, undermine the hopes of
> Palestinians and prejudice the prospects for a fair-minded peace. Canada
> considers such actions to be contrary to international law and especially
> unproductive for the peace process. Canada makes no moral equivalency
> between suicide bombings and the retaliation thereto. Canada shares Israel's
> outrage at the terrorist attacks it has suffered . We respect Israel's right
> to defend itself.  However, that response must be measured and
> proportionate. The restrictions on freedom of movement by closure of access
> roads and checkpoints to Palestinians has resulted in increased economic,
> social and humanitarian hardships. We are particularly concerned by the
> disproportionate use of force in built-up, especially in civilian areas
> including refugee camps and the frequent use of lethal weaponry, including
> advanced aircraft, all of which increase the risks of civilian
> casualties.Attacks against individuals Israel believes to be responsible for
> terrorist activity are also a matter of concern. On some occasions, innocent
> bystanders have lost their lives. The number of Palestinian administrative
> detainees also continues to rise. Detainees are often held without charge or
> trial or any right to full appeal. Furthermore, Israel should not impair the
> delivery of humanitarian aid to those in need. We are deeply concerned by
> reports from UNRWA and the ICRC, detailing incidents when marked ambulances
> were denied access to wounded civilians, delayed at checkpoints, or were
> fired upon. The use of UNRWA schools and clinics as detainment centres or
> firing points is also unacceptable.
> The human rights record of the Palestinian Authority is equally a matter of
> serious concern. Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority must take all
> necessary action to prevent further terrorist attacks and act immediately to
> bring to justice those responsible for those which have occurred.
> Indiscriminate attacks against civilians, including attacks carried out by
> suicide bombers, intended to create a state of terror among the civilian
> population, violate norms of both humanitarian as well as international law.
> Such acts are deeply repugnant to our core values. Furthermore, acts of
> terrorism do a disservice to legitimate Palestinian aspirations and
> undermine a political resolution to the conflict. The Palestinian Authority
> must do more to prevent the culture of violence that produces suicide
> bombers and demonstrate that it is doing all in its power to prevent such
> attacks.Unchecked incitement against Israel through official media outlets,
> in schools and in public statements by religious and community leaders has
> contributed to this culture. The Palestinian leadership must bring an end to
> incitement and instead use all means at its disposal to foster a culture of
> peace.All governments have a responsibility to combat the scourge of racism
> and anti-Semitism wherever it may occur. Efforts to promote a lasting and
> comprehensive peace must be accompanied by initiatives to improve
> cross-cultural understanding and foster tolerance.The high proportion of
> available resources devoted to nine different security forces is also a
> matter of serious concern, as is their involvement in terrorist activities
> and practices such as arbitrary arrest, ill-treatment of detainees, and
> trials which do not conform to international norms. The involvement of
> Palestinian security forces in the illegal import and manufacture of weapons
> and their links to horrific attacks against Israeli civilians is
> unacceptable and must stop.
> The Palestinian Authority continues to detain political prisoners and has
> been accused by human rights organizations of using arbitrary arrest to
> intimidate individuals and restrict freedom of expression, including those
> who have publicly criticized the Palestinian Authority's leadership.
> Canada will continue to follow closely the human rights situation in the
> West Bank and Gaza, including through dialogue with Israel and the
> Palestinian Authority, as well as with NGOs. We are currently engaged in a
> number of activities which seek to promote respect for human rights,
> tolerance and peace education in the Middle East. Canada is proud to
> contribute to these activities and will continue to support such projects.
> We are also particularly supportive of the efforts of the Regional Human
> Security Centre in Amman, Jordan, to address the complex human rights and
> human security challenges facing the Middle East.Canada strongly believes
> that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace between the parties, together
> with factors such as the continued development of democratic values and
> institutions, will be critical elements in ensuring respect for human rights
> in the West Bank and Gaza.