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Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem effect

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Message Bahija Reghai

Canadian Policy: The Jerusalem effect

One must wonder why the Government of Canada feels the need to by-pass the Canadian electorate and announce changes in its policy relating to Israel/Palestine through Israeli media: these announcements should have been made in Canada because they have a profound impact on Canadian interests and need to be debated in Canada.

And our national media have gone AWOL on a number of issues when they are supposed to be their readers' and viewers' watchdogs, especially since Parliament has been prorogued.

First, we learned of the Security Agreement through the Jerusalem Post in 2007. On March 2, 2008, a Declaration of Intent was signed by then Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day in Tel Aviv. Having a mutual security agreement with a country that grants rights according to religion rather than citizenship is not in accord with Canadian values.

The fact that Israel is an occupier state and uses its army against Palestinians while occupying their land should also raise a red flag as intelligence gathered on Canadian Arabs of Palestinian and Israeli background may be skewed, "shared", and used against them. The implications of such an agreement should be the subject of parliamentary debate and oversight.

Second, the Israeli settler radio station Arutz Sheva said in October 2009 that Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon had announced in Israel his intention "to present the Canadian Prime Minister with a plan to revive the multilateral "refugee committee' headed by Canada that was established in the Madrid Conference in 1991." The question of Palestinian refugees has been a core issue in the Arab-Israeli conflict since 1948. As the "gavel-holder" of the Refugee Working Group (RWG), Canada has a special responsibility towards all Palestinian refugees.

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Bahija Reghai is a Canadian Human Rights activist and a former president of the National COuncil on Canada-Arab Relations (NCCAR).
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