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"I respectfully insist that Israel has a right to exist and that peace and coexistence is a main goal of mine."
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While many Canadians might not realize it, there is a hunger strike going on today that is just as significant as that of Bobby Sands and the other Irish Republicans in 1981. Led by Marwan Barghouti, hundreds of Palestinians in Israeli jails are five weeks into a hunger strike.
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Unless something galvanizes Trudeau, Trump and other Western leaders to action, we may soon observe another sad anniversary of Israel's ongoing military occupation. If so, Israelis, and especially Palestinian civilians, will continue to pay a heavy price for our indifference.
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They "... are humiliated, terrorized, abused, insulted, evicted, demolished, confiscated, dispossessed, expropriated, beaten, wounded or killed by Goliath, and imprisoned, often in solitary confinemen...
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"Israel rejects this shameful anti-Israel resolution at the U.N. and will not abide by its terms."
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Under Justin Trudeau, "Canada is back" to isolating itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights. On Monday, Canada joined the U.S., Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing a UN Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee resolution in support of Palestinian self-determination.
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Canadians might find it disquieting to have members of parliament cry, "Shame!" when the government announces $20 million in aid for education and health. Yet this is exactly what happened when the Minister of International Development, Marie-Claude Bibeau, announced the restoration of Canadian humanitarian aid for Palestinian refugees.
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“The Trudeau government has finally differentiated itself from the Harper government ..."
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Rather than providing developmental or good governance aid to the Palestinians, the vast majority of Canada's aid to Palestinians is dedicated to training security forces to police fellow Palestinians. It could even be argued that this is more so a form of aid to Israel than to Palestine.
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This is a bit like commenting on a married couple who have severe marital problems, complete with shouting matches and physical abuse. While all their friends may agree that the marriage is in trouble and that the couple should get counselling, no true friend would allow the husband to repeatedly beat his wife as they wait for counselling. But Canadian political leaders seem perfectly willing to allow the "beating" to continue as they await the ever elusive negotiated solution ("counselling") between Israel and Palestine.
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In 1997 I went to the West Bank to study Arabic. Once there, I found that many of the students in the program were, like me, half Palestinian, and were there as part of an attempt to discover their roots. Before I left, I hadn't thought much about how language defines who we are, or what happens when the languages we use to build our identities are rendered useless.
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Last week, the world was informed of yet another expansion of Israeli "settlements" by the Netanyahu government. Israel has now advanced plans for 1,700 new units since July 1. And the response from Canada and its federal political parties: silence.
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This is an interview I conducted with Professor Yakov M. Rabkin of the Université de Montréal, author of the recently published What Is Modern Israel. Professor Rabkin's earlier book on the subject of Israel was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award and for the Hecht Prize for Studies of Zionism.
For all their tragedy, the victims of Fort Mac will one day see the restoration of their homes and most will enjoy the return to their beloved abode. But 50 years on, the Latrun villagers have yet to see their right of return granted.