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  • May 2nd, 2018

We cannot keep ignoring the endless occupation of Palestine

panel-photo-2

A capacity crowd attended the Rights under Endless Occupation: Israel/Palestine Discussion at Knox Presbyterian Church on Thursday evening, 26 April 2018.

In her introduction, Rideau Institute President Peggy Mason stated:

This discussion is particularly timely, taking place as it is against a backdrop of the continued use of firearms, including live ammunition, by Israeli security forces against mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters and observers for a fourth straight week near the fence between occupied Gaza and Israel.

Canadian law professor Michael Lynk explained his role as UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, talked about the situation in Gaza, particularly the health crisis, and highlighted many ongoing grave breaches of international law by Israel in relation to the 50-year military occupation.

In paragraph 64 of the advance, unedited version of his latest report,Professor Lynk stated:

… Israel has been in profound breach of the right to health with respect to the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Its avaricious occupation — measured by the expanding settlement enterprise, the annexation of territory, the confiscation of private and public lands, the pillaging of resources, the publicly-stated ambitions for permanent control over all or part of the Territory, and the fragmentation of the lands left for the Palestinians — has had a highly disruptive impact upon health care and the broader social determinants for health for the Palestinians.

The second panelist, Brad Parker, is a staff attorney and international advocacy officer at Defense for Children International – Palestine, an independent, local Palestinian child rights organization based in Ramallah. His comments focused on the widespread ill-treatment and torture that Palestinian children encounter by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank:

Israel is the only country in the world to automatically prosecute children [from age 12] in military courts that lack basic safeguards for a fair trial.

In the first week of April, Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party of Canada, participated in a Canada-Palestine Parliamentary Friendship Group trip to Israel and Palestine with 17 other MPs from all 5 political parties represented in the House of Commons.  In her comments, she denounced the treatment of children, as well as the Palestinian population in general, under [Israeli] “military dictatorship” and made specific reference to her statement in relation to the shooting of unarmed civilians along the border between Gaza and Israel:

Canada must not remain silent. We must suspend all military trade with Israel and increase pressure for the world community to collectively present an honest broker to replace the United States in this ongoing conflict. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the United States can no longer play that critical role.

For an unedited version of the latest report by the UN Special Rapporteur, Michael Lynk, click here.

For the latest press release on the Gaza situation by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, name, click here.

Photo credit: Ottawa office (MCC Canada). From left to right: Michael Lynk, Elizabeth May, Peggy Mason, Brad Parker.
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