Complicity in Israeli War Crimes.*
By Dr. Ismail Zayid
Lecture given at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Canada, together with other countries, including primarily Britain and the US, played a significant role in supporting the Zionist
agenda and bringing about the ethnic cleansing and dispossession of the
Palestinian people from their homeland, resulting in the continuing
Palestine/Israel conflict that we encounter today.
Palestine-Israel conflict is frequently described as a very complex one, and I
want to submit before you that the problem is fundamentally a very simple one
which was summed up, in the words of a simple Palestinian farmer in Jericho,
quoted by the late Frank Epp, the then President of Conrad Grebel College of
the University of Waterloo, who told Frank Epp:
"Our problem is very simple. A foreigner came and took
our land, took our farms and our homes, and kicked us out. We have in mind to
return. It may take a hundred years but we will return."
in a nutshell, is the Palestine problem and
the essence of this conflict. A country, Palestine, has been
dismantled, its people uprooted from their homeland and replaced by an alien people
gathered from all corners of the globe and a new state, Israel, created, in
its place. This tragedy and the ensuing conflict that brought about repeated
wars in the Middle East is a direct
outcome of the introduction of political Zionism into the Middle East.
some history is relevant here:
2nd of November 1917, when Arthur Balfour,
the British Foreign Secretary, issued his infamous declaration in the form of a
letter written to an English Jew, Lord Rothchild, it read:
"His Majesty’s Government view with favour the
establishment in Palestine of a national
home for the Jewish people... it being clearly understood that nothing shall be
done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish
communities in Palestine".
It is interesting to note that the four-letter word
"Arab" occurs not once in this document. To refer to the Arabs who
constituted, at the time, 92% of the population of Palestine and owned 98%
of its land, as the non-Jewish communities is not merely preposterous but
deliberately fraudulent. I do not need to tell you that this letter has no
shred of legality, as Palestine did not
belong to Balfour to assume such acts of generosity. The words of Dr. Arnold
Toynbee describe the British role, in issuing this document
"We were taking it upon ourselves to give away
something that was not ours to give. We were promising rights of some kind in
the Palestinian Arabs’ country to a third party".
the well-known Jewish writer, Arthur Koestler,
summed it up aptly when he described the Balfour Declaration as a document in
nation promised a second the country of a third".
a role in advancing the Zionist agenda, at the Versailles Peace
Conference in 1919, by calling for the fulfillment of the Balfour Declaration
, i.e. the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.
Canada went on
to play a major role in the formulation and the passage of the UN Partition
resolution # 181 on Nov. 29, 1947. This
resolution was formulated by the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine [UNSCOP], in
which Canada played a very
active role. Justice
Ivan Rand, an ardent Zionist, was Canada's
representative on this committee. Lester Pearson, the
then Canadian Undersecretary for State for External Affairs, headed
the Canadian delegation and was elected Chairman of the Assembly's First
Committee dealing with this issue. This Committee proposed to the U.N. General
Assembly [UNGA] the partitioning of Palestine into a Jewish
state in 56% of the country and an Arab state in 42% and An international zone
in Jerusalem over the
remaining 2% of Palestine. It is
interesting to note that the Jews in Palestine, at that
time, constituted 31% of the population, including a very large number of recent
and illegal immigrants, and owned 5.6% of the land. This clearly shows how
unjust was this resolution and why it was opposed by the Palestinians. The
passage of this resolution was effected by US pressure
and intimidation to bring coercion on many countries in Latin America, Asia and Africa to support
the resolution. US Under-Secretary of State, Sumner Welles
direct order of the White House, every form of pressure, direct and indirect,
was used to make sure that the necessary majority would be gained."
Pearson, in recognition of his diligence and devotion to the
Zionist cause, was awarded in 1968 the position of Honorary
Fellow of the Weizmann Institute and in 1969 was awarded, by
the Zionist Organization of America, the Theodor Herzl Award
for his "commitment to Jewish freedom and Israel." For
all his efforts he was also dubbed by Canadian Zionists as the Balfour of
Canada, for his decisive influence in the acceptance of the partition plan.
role in this conflict did not stop there but continues to this day in a
variety of manifestations including governmental actions, political leaders'
activities, voting at the UN and not to mention the blatant bias encountered in
many of our media sources.
major activity, that should be of concern to every Canadian, is the creation of
the infamy called Canada Park built by Canadian tax-deductible
dollars on the ruins of the three Palestinian villages, Imwas, Yalu
and Beit Nuba [my own hometown], by the Jewish National Fund of
Canada [JNF], which was and remains a Canadian registered charity. These
villages were occupied, without a single shot being fired, on June 6, 1967, in the war
of naked aggression that Israel planned and
effected against Egypt, followed by
occupation of the West Bank and the
Syrian Golan Heights. These villages were then systematically dynamited and
bulldozed, by the Israeli army, on the direct orders of Yitzhak Rabin,
the then chief of staff of the Israeli army, and later prime minister and,
incredibly, a Nobel Peace laureate, to the dismay of anyone who has any notion
of humanity or peace. In the village of Beit Nuba 18 people,
who were old or disabled and unable to escape before their homes were
demolished, were buried alive.
of these villages was witnessed and described by the Israeli journalist Amos Kenan,
who was a reserve soldier in the occupying force in Beit Nuba. He gave this
account to the Israeli newspaper Ha'Olam Hazeh, which was prohibited by the
censor from publishing it. It was sent to all members of the Knesset, and to
the Prime Minister and Defense minister, but no response was received.
unit commander told us that it had been decided to blow up three villages in
our sector; they were Beit Nuba, Imwas and Yalu ... We were told to block the
entrances of the villages and prevent inhabitants [from] returning .... The
order was to shoot over their heads and tell them not to enter the
then Knesset member, described the destruction of these villages as a war crime
and Canada was giving a
cover-up for a war crime. This act is in direct violation of the Fourth Geneva
Convention 1949, to which Israel and Canada are
53 of the Convention states :"Any destruction by the
occupying power of real or personal property belonging individually or
collectively to private persons, or to the state, or to other public
authorities or social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited." International
law defines any violation of any article of the Convention as a war crime.
It is now difficult to spot the ruins and the rubble. Today there stands on
the spot the infamy called "Canada
areas for Israelis, built with Canadian tax-deductible dollars provided by the
Canadian Jewish National Fund (JNF).
It was in 1973 that Bernard
Bloomfield of Montreal,
then President of the JNF of Canada, spearheaded a campaign among the Canadian
Jewish community to raise $15 million to establish Canada
so as to provide a picnic area accessible to Israelis from Jerusalem
and Tel Aviv.
At the entrance of Canada
just off John Diefenbaker Parkway
(opened by Diefenbaker himself in 1975), is a sign that reads: "Welcome to
project of the Jewish National Fund of Canada."
The JNF, responsible for the upkeep of the park, has removed all signs of
the villages and their inhabitants from the area. It would seem that only the
Canadian donors are worthy of being remembered; their names are engraved in the
bronze plaques which cover an entire wall. Interestingly, these donors are not
directly informed that the park is built on the site of the demolished
villages, once part of what was called the Latrun salient. Over 10,000 people
lived there; they had schools, mosques, agricultural land and many centuries of
history. It was in Imwas (Emmaus) where Christians believe that Jesus Christ
first appeared with his disciples after the Crucifixion. The villagers
were expelled and remain as refugees denied the return to their land.
As a new Canadian, my personal pain was compounded when I read on Dec. 4, 1978, in our local
newspaper, The Halifax Herald,
that Peter Herschorn,
a past chairman of the Atlantic branch of the JNF, was honored by
the JNF for his humanitarian work and "choosing the right goodness"
in his participation in the building of Canada Park. The Lieutenant-Governor of
the Premier of N.S. and the Mayor of Halifax were in attendance and offered
their greetings. I was mortified that political leaders in my new country, Canada,
would consider the erection of recreation centres on the site of ruins of
criminally demolished peaceful villages, illegally occupied, as a
continuously brags about its reputation for upholding the UN Charter,
international law and human rights, yet allows its taxpayers' dollars to
sponsor such a war crime. Over many years, I have written repeatedly, to
ministers expressing concern about this, and receiving only vague unhelpful
My activities on this issue, on the other hand, received the characteristic
Zionist insolence and callous disregard for humanity, by sending me a
certificate, from the CJNF, stating that: " A tree has been planted in Canada Park, Israel, in tribute to Dr. I.Zayid."
I responded to this insult by rejecting their inhumanity, stating: " The trees that my forefathers
and I have planted on our land have been uprooted, together with our
homes, by Zionist bulldozers in my village Beit Nuba after the 1967 war. You
may be assured that I shall plant my own trees on my own land when we return to
Palestine, our homeland, and WE WILL RETURN
Father Louis, who worked at the Latrun Franciscan Monastery for 40 years,
said, "Every time I go by Canada
I still get angry. Why does the Canadian government allow it to be called Canada
It is built on the ruins of people's homes".
Every Canadian should be asking: why should our country's name be
associated with this infamy?
As I stated earlier, there were and are many manifestations, as to Canada's
actions in relation to the Palestine
question and in support of Israel
and its crimes and acts of violation of international law that we must discuss
Canada/ Israel Agreements:
There are a number of agreements that Canada
holds with Israel
with economic and political support:
1: Canada- Israel Industrial Research and Development Fund
[CIIRDF], established in 1994.
2: Canada- Israel Free
Trade Agreement. [CIFTA], implemented in January 1997.These agreements
contribute billions of dollars in bilateral trade and foreign direct
investments linking Israel
3: Canada-Israel Public
Security Agreement [Security Accord], initiated first in
October 2007, in Tel Aviv, by Mr. Stockwell Day, Canada's minister of Public
Safety and Emergency Preparedness and Avi Dichter, Israel's minister
of Public Security. It was formally signed on March 23, 2008. The two
governments agreed to exchange secret information on security matters.
Governmental Policies and
Statements by Political Leaders:
was scheduled to hold in Sept. 1975 a UN Crime Conference in Toronto. In accordance with its
Observer Status at the UN, the PLO had the right to attend. However Premier William Davis of Ontario,
in a blatant effort to win Jewish votes in a forthcoming provincial
election, challenged the PLO attendance and pressure was applied on the federal
government to bar entry of PLO delegates. Accordingly, the conference was
transferred to Geneva.
and the US
condemned the UN resolution calling Zionism a form of racism. On Nov. 12, 1975, the House
of Commons unanimously condemned the resolution. The racist practices
associated with Zionism are blatant and condemned by Israeli and international
human rights organisations.
3: In June 1979, Joe
Clark, as prime minister of Canada,
called for the transfer of the Canadian embassy in Israel
from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a proposal
that was not supported by any other country and stands in defiance of UN
4: Prime Minister Trudeau
refused to make any statement against Israeli invasion of Lebanon
in 1982 and the resulting Sabra
and Shatilla massacre.
5: In 1988 the European Community endorsed the right of the Palestinian
people to self-determination, followed by la Francophonie. However, while all 41 other
Francophonie states endorsed the Palestinian right, Canada
alone did not.
6: During his state visit to Canada,
Israeli President Chaim Herzog
was invited to address the Canadian parliament on June
27, 1989. He was introduced by Prime
Minister Brian Mulroney with these words:
“Canada played a part in that process by participating in the United
Nations Commission that proposed the partition of Palestine, by voting for
Israel's membership in the UN and by contributing to the Middle East
peace-keeping forces in the hope of stabilizing the region and of bringing
peace to your country. Most of all, in the daring and difficult period of Israel's
infancy, when your nation needed friends – true friends – Canada
was there. Canada
was there over 40 years ago and our friendship and support remain with you
In April 2000, Prime Minister Jean
Chretien toured Middle East and condemned
violations of human rights in Syria
and Saudi Arabia,
but made no mention of Israeli blatant violation of human rights, condemned by
all international and Israeli human rights organizations. He refused to set
foot in East Jerusalem, in deference to Israeli concerns.
And when asked why he did not visit East Jerusalem, he,
evasively, said that he did not know the West, East or North in Jerusalem.
8: Prime Minister Jean Chretien, on Aug.
9, 2001, expressed outrage at Palestinians' attack in Tel Aviv
but no mention of scores of Palestinians killed by Israel.
Foreign minister Bill Graham,
in Jan. 2003, expressed similar outrage at another attack in Israel
and condemned Palestinian terrorism and stated Israel
had the right to defend itself. Yet in the weeks before scores of Palestinians
were killed but there was no mention of Israeli continuing state terrorism.
In Jan. 2004, 12 Liberal MPs formed the group:" Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel",
led by BC. M.P. Stephen Owen,
Minister of Public Affairs, together with six cabinet ministers. Their declared
policy was to shift Canadian policy further towards Israel.
On Jan. 9, 2004, Western Jewish Bulletin reported: "The Jewish state has friends in new Martin
On Nov. 3, 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin
stated, at a meeting of "Jewish
Advocacy Group for Israel":
" Nothing will shake Canada's
commitment to Israel".
I wrote to him, as I have written repeatedly to all of them, asking Mr. Martin:
"Do I understand you correctly
that nothing will shake Canada's
commitment o Israel
no matter what crimes Israel
commits?" Two weeks later I received a phone call from him
assuring me that Canada's
support for the economy of the Palestinians will remain. I told him that the
Palestinian economy, no matter how terrible it is, remains irrelevant. It is merely
a symptom of a disease, namely the illegal occupation, and, speaking as a
physician, it is the disease that must be tackled and not the symptoms. I
told him few other things over a 30 minute conversation. His policies
did not change!!
Prime Minister Paul Martin stated, on Nov.
13, 2005, at a meeting of United Jewish Communities in Toronto,
that "Israeli values are Canadian
values." He was, in essence, insulting the values
that Canada usually
The Harper government was the first, in Jan. 2006, to cut aid to Gaza,
as a reward for the Palestinian audacity in freely electing a government that
he and George W. Bush did not like.
Mr. Stephen Harper,
Canada's prime minister, described Israeli invasion of Lebanon in July
2006, killing over a thousand Lebanese, mostly civilians, and destroying the
infra structure in Lebanon, as "A
15: September 23, 2008 "Israel now has no better friend in the world
than Canada", so said Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism
and Canadian Identity, to Tamar Yonah on
Israel National Radio's Weekend Edition
show on Sunday.
On Jan. 19, 2008, foreign
removed Israel and
the US from
the Torture Watch List.
The Israeli human rights group, B'Tselem, objected
to this action.
on Jan. 23, 2008, Jason Kenney, Secretary of State for Multiculturalism
declared Canadian abandonment of the 2009 Durban World
Conference Against Racism. Bnai Brith applauded the government for this action.
In May, 2008, Mr. Harper, lavishly celebrating Israel's
60th anniversary and promising Canadian "unshakeable support" for Israel.
Ms. Elizabeth May,
leader of Green Party of Canada stated: "We
need to recognize that Israel
is the bulwark of democracy and healthy society in Middle East"
[Canadian Jewish News, Oct. 2, 2008.]
Now magazine, Oct. 1-8 issue, reported that Ken Dryden, Liberal MP, and former
leader candidate stated at a Jewish gathering that: "Canada must stop all aid that flows into Gaza.
While that may seem a harsh measure that will hurt Palestinian civilians, it is
the right thing to do." Protests to Mr. Stephane Dion, leader of Liberal
party, to take action against Mr. Dryden, for his call plainly for
genocide in Gaza, brought no result.
That was in contrast to Dion's expulsion of Liberal candidate Lesley Hughes for
making a simple statement, reported by many sources, about some Israelis'
prior knowledge of the event of 9/11. Furthermore, Mr. Dion refused to
allow the distinguished barrister, Edward Corrigan, to stand as a
Liberal candidate in London Ontario
in the 2008 federal election, because of his views in support of the Palestinian
Voting Record at the U.N.
Canada's voting record
at the UN displays extraordinary contradiction with Canada's
claims of support for UN Charter and human rights issues. Few examples are
In May 1968, Mr. George Ignatieff, Canada's
delegate at the UN opposed a UNGA resolution condemning the actions of Israel
with regard to Jerusalem and its
On Nov. 22, 1974, Canada
abstained on a UN resolution declaring that the Palestinian people have
the right to independence and sovereignty.
In March 2002, Canada
undertook to protect Israel
at the Human Rights Commission [UNHRC] in Geneva,
and undertook to be "Israel's
voice" at the Commission.
On March 16, 2002 Canada
voted against a UN vote condemning Israeli war crimes and massacres in its
vicious attack on Jenin refugee camp and massive destruction of the town of Jenin.
On March 11, 2004, Canada
abstains on a resolution, calling for the improvement of the conditions of
Palestinian women, at the 49th.Session on the Status of Women. 39 nations
supported the resolution and only US voted against it, and there was one
abstention by Canada.
July 2004, Canada
abstains on UN resolution calling to refer, to the International Court of
Justice [ICJ], the Issue of the Separation [apartheid] Wall that Israel
was building in the West Bank. The ICJ ruled later that
the wall was illegal and must be dismantled.
On Dec. 1, 2005, the Paul
Martin Canadian government, in its continuing shift in further support for Israel,
flipped on 3 UN resolutions:
a: The UNGA in its annual resolution urging Israeli withdrawal from territory
occupied since 1967, voted 156 for and 6 against with nine abstentions: Canada,
Cameroon, Costa Rica, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tuvalu, Uganda and
reversed itself on a resolution supporting the UN organs [UNRWA] working in
support of Palestinians. Only 8 states opposed the resolutions: Australia,
Marshall Islands, Micronesia,
and the US.
Canada also voted
against a resolution calling on Israel
to withdraw from the Golan Heights. The vote was carried
by 106 votes and just 6 against: Canada,
Palau and the US.
Siddiqui, in article in Toronto Star, Dec. 4, 2005, asked: "What do we
have in common with Micronesia,
Tuvalu and Vanuatu?"
In Nov. 2007, Canada
abstained from endorsing the "resolution on the right of the Palestinian
people to self-determination" [Document A/C. 3/62/L.63], which was
approved by 172 in favour, 5 against and 5 abstentions [Australia,
UNGA Resolution # 10670: On Dec. 10,
2007. By a wide margin, the Assembly adopted a resolution on the
peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine
by a vote of 161 in favour, 7 against [Australia Micronesia, Israel Marshall
Islands, Nauru, Palau,
US], and 5 abstentions:[Cameroon,
resolution adopted at that issue was the report of the Committee on the
Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, adopted by 109
votes in favour and 8 against: [Australia, Canada, Micronesia, Israel, Marshall
Islands, Nauru, Palau, US].
resolution on the Syrian Golan Heights, adopted by a vote of 111 in favour and
6 against[Canada, Micronesia,
Jan. 2008, a resolution condemning the Israeli war crimes in Gaza,
after an attack killing around 120 Palestinians, was passed unanimously by
the UN Human Rights Council [UNHRC] except for a single opposing vote by Canada,
46 in favour and 1 against.
On March 18, 2008, the UNHR
Council voted on a resolution "expressing grave concern
regarding continuing Israeli settler activity in the Occupied
These settlements contravene international law and block any progress to peace.
The vote was 46-1, with Canada
casting the only vote against the resolution.
sum up, we have seen a lengthy catalogue of Canadian support for Israeli
violation of international law, defiance of UN resolutions and violation of the
Fourth Geneva Convention. Such violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention
are identified by international law as war crimes and Canada
stands in refusal to comply with Article I of the Convention which calls on the
High Contracting Parties to take action against any state that violates any of
the Convention's articles.
must be the duty of all Canadians to call on our government to live up to
our claims of upholding international law and human rights and
to stand for justice in the resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict.
Palestinian people who have been subjected to a policy of ethnic cleansing and
dispossession, are calling for a modicum of justice, for without justice
there will be no peace for Arab or Jew in this tortured land