It is no secret that Canada may be the most pro-Israeli country in the world, especially since the Harper Government has taken office, but has it started to damage our reputation?
The recent conflict between Hamas and Israel midway through November, was sparked by the assassination of Ahmed Jabari, 46, the head of Hamas’ military wing in the Gaza Strip. Hamas responded by bombarding Israel with rocket-fire for more then a week, nearly escalating into Israeli ground forces moving into Gaza to quell the conflict.
The Examiner published this statement from Israel explaining their actions: “The purpose of this operation was to severely impair the command and control chain of the Hamas leadership,” the Israeli military said. It is reportedly the most dramatic air offensive against the Gaza Strip since 2008. (source)
Amidst the international outrage, Canada declared that it stood firmly alongside Israel. On November 16th The Province and The Vancouver Sun reported: Over the past two years, officials in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government have been given private assurances that Ottawa was behind them. MacKay went so far as to say in 2011 that “a threat to Israel is a threat to Canada.” (source)
Canada continued to prove its loyalty to Israel by voting against elevating Palestine’s status at the UN. It was one of only nine countries to vote against this motion as opposed to the 138 nations that supported it. In an article published November 30th by CTV it reads: The Canadian government’s staunch opposition to a vote that raised the status of Palestine in the United Nations has destroyed its credibility in the region and disqualified it from participating in future peace talks, the New Democrats charged Friday as Ottawa temporarily recalled diplomats from Israel and the West Bank. (source)
Al Jazeera gives more back-story to the UN votes by saying: Indeed, the very next day Canada voted against six more resolutions on Palestinian rights that were adopted, including one on the “peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine.” (source)
All Voices website, which reports on local to global news, made an interesting observation about a recent decision to expand Israeli settlements into the West Bank that separates Canada from even Israel’s closest friends. “While other strong allies of Israel, even the United States, have strongly condemned the Israeli plan to build 3,000 settler homes in east Jerusalem and the West Bank, Canada refused to directly criticize the plan.” (source)
A multitude of other issues have arisen within the past few years including cutting the charitable status of an organization that helped orphans in Gaza while continuing to fund the expansion of settlements like the ones mentioned above. For all that and more, Yves Engler, the author of The Ugly Canadian, gives an interview with the Real News. He covers current developments as well as past co-operations which have led to Canada’s ongoing role as Israels primary supporter.
Going forward, we can only hope that Canada listens to what the international community is saying and does not commit to any decisive action that we might regret later.