CUPE president asks Prime Minister Harper to condemn Israel's attack on Gaza

Today (January 2), CUPE's national president, Paul Moist, wrote a letter to Prime Minister Stephen  Harper, demanding that "the Canadian government condemn the military assault on the people of Gaza that Israel commenced on December 27, 2008".

"CUPE condemns all acts of violence in the Middle East, including the
Hamas rockets being launched into Israel and the Israeli offensive
mentioned above," Moist wrote.  "To date, your government has stated publically your support for the Israeli people to protect themselves from attack. This is a woefully inadequate and frankly shameful response on behalf of Canadians."

In a statement issued on December 27, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said that the Canadian government was concerned about loss of life on all sides.

“Israel has a clear right to defend itself against the continued rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups which have deliberately targeted civilians," Cannon said.  "First and foremost, those rocket attacks must stop. At the same time, we urge both sides to use all efforts to avoid civilian casualties and to create the conditions to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need in Gaza."

Harper's longstanding support for Israel was recognized on December 4 when  the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations awarded Harper with its first International Leadership Award.

“I am deeply honoured to be recognized for helping improve western relations with Israel,” Harper said in a government news release. “Canada stands with Israel, and will stand with any nation willing to put its trust in its people and follow the principles of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

The conference, which represents 50 national Jewish groups,  was founded in 1954 to promote the State of Israel in the United States.

Below is Cannon's December 27 statement followed by Moist's letter to the prime minister:

December 27, 2008 (2:30 p.m. EST)

Statement by Minister Lawrence Cannon on the Situation in Israel and the Gaza Strip:

“Canada is deeply concerned by the escalation of violence in Southern Israel and the Gaza Strip and by the loss of life and the suffering sustained by all sides.

“Israel has a clear right to defend itself against the continued rocket attacks by Palestinian militant groups which have deliberately targeted civilians. First and foremost, those rocket attacks must stop. At the same time, we urge both sides to use all efforts to avoid civilian casualties and to create the conditions to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need in Gaza.

“In addition to calling for immediate calm, we urge renewed efforts to reach a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel and for Israeli and Palestinian leaders to remain committed to finding a comprehensive peace settlement.”

- 30 -

Paul Moist's letter to the prime minister:  

January 2, 2009


The Right Honorable Stephen Harper
Prime Minister of Canada
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2


Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Re: Middle East Crisis

On behalf of the 570,000 members of CUPE I am writing to demand that
the Canadian government condemn the military assault on the people of
Gaza that the State of Israel commenced on December 26, 2008.

CUPE condemns all acts of violence in the Middle East, including the
Hamas rockets being launched into Israel and the Israeli offensive
mentioned above. To date, your government has stated publically your
support for the Israeli people to protect themselves from attack.
This is a woefully inadequate and frankly shameful response on behalf
of Canadians.

Professor Richard Falk, the UN's Special Rapporteur for Human Rights
in the Occupied Territories has characterized the Israeli offensive as
containing "...severe and massive violations of international
humanitarian law as defined in the Geneva Conventions, both
in regards to the obligations of an Occupying Power and in the
requirements of the laws of war".

Professor Falk cites three clear violations, including: collective
punishment
- the entire 1.5 million people who live in the Gaza Strip are being
punished.
Dozens of civilians have been killed.

Secondly, he cites targeting civilians: The Israeli airstrikes are
aimed at the civilian areas of one of the most crowded areas on the
planet. Finally he cites, "disproportionate military response": The
air assault has not only destroyed Gaza's police and security offices,
but has killed and injured hundreds of civilians.

He concludes by stating while the Hamas rocket attacks are unlawful
they do not give Israel the right either as an Occupying Power or a
sovereign state to violate international humanitarian law and commit
war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response.

CUPE demands that the Canadian government, as a member nation of the
UN, condemn the serious violations of humanitarian and international
law by the State of Israel as outlined above, and to lend Canada's
voice to those nations seeking an immediate ceasefire and a renewed
commitment to the pursuit of peace in the Middle East.

Yours truly,

 


PAUL MOIST
National President
Canadian Union of Public Employees

cc: Michael Ignatieff, Liberal Leader
        Jack Layton, NDP Leader
      Gilles Duceppe, Bloc Québécois Leader
      National Executive Board
      Ken Georgetti, CLC

Comments

3 Comments

Barbara Joneses

Nov 14, 2010 at 5:38am

Sad to see the NDP and their union allies propagating hatred of Jews. Perhaps I missed it but I haven't seen Paul Moist asking for condemnation of any other countries for "real" human rights violation. If he were involved say in condemning stoning woman to death, attaching bombs to kids, the 911 attacks, dictatorships, etc. then he may have some credibility.
Perhaps I've missed it, but do the unions get involved in any other foreign affairs matters? Or just where it involves the Jews defending themselves?
And what about the UN, what are they doing to stop the stoning of woman, child marriages, ending dictatorships?
What are they doing to encourage other democracies in the Middle East, or are they just trying to constantly condemn
the only true one that exists?

0 0Rating: 0

Barbara Joneses

Nov 14, 2010 at 5:40am

Sad to see the NDP and their union allies propagating hatred of Jews. Perhaps I missed it but I haven't seen Paul Moist asking for condemnation of any other countries for "real" human rights violation. If he were involved say in condemning stoning woman to death, attaching bombs to kids, the 911 attacks, dictatorships, etc. then he may have some credibility.
Perhaps I've missed it, but do the unions get involved in any other foreign affairs matters? Or just where it involves the Jews defending themselves?
And what about the UN, what are they doing to stop the stoning of woman, child marriages, ending dictatorships?
What are they doing to encourage other democracies in the Middle East, or are they just trying to constantly condemn
the only true one that exists?

0 0Rating: 0

YJ Draiman

Mar 20, 2011 at 10:37am

Israel has the right and obligation to defend its citizens

The brutal slaughter of a family of 5 in Itamar just shows that we are dealing with a barbaric mentality.

It is a known fact that any country if attacked, its citizens kidnapped, rocket bombardment on a daily basis.
Has the right and obligation to defend its citizens.

It is sad that innocent civilians are hurt, but that is the cost of war and conflict.

Any government and its citizen who do not resist terrorism and let terrorist organization entrench themselves in their country and utilize those countries as bases of armed terrorism against a neighboring country. Eventually pays the price for permitting such actions.

If you gave the Arab population a vote in Israel and the west bank and Jerusalem the option to vote freely and without intimidation, you would find out, that they would rather be living under Israel’s government. They derive more stability more benefits, pensions, welfare, etc.

If the United States or any other government were to be attacked from across the border on a daily basis, have its citizens kidnapped, rockets launched at them on a daily basis, the citizens would demand that immediate military action be initiated with no holes barred, collateral damage or not. That is the fact of life.

Terrorist and those who support them do not know what peace is, they thrive on violence. That is the only way they control the masses. Any negotiations or compromise only strengthen those terrorist organizations. When a poison strikes the human body, the only way to address it, is to remove it and destroy it completely.

That is the way the terrorist organizations should be treated.

“Like all sovereign nations, Israel has not only a right, but moreover, an obligation, to ensure the safety and security of her citizens”.

As quoted in a statement “the only time of a chance for peace is, when the Arab mother would love her children more than she hates the Israelis.

The big mistake is that people are missing the economic benefits for Israel and its neighbors. That is if there was a true peace, you take the Israeli Technology and know how, add to it the Arab labor and natural resources – and you have an economic prosperity beyond your widest dreams.

YJ Draiman

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