By Hanna Kawas
Prime Minister of Canada
Rt. Honourable Paul Martin
Dear Prime Minister:
On January 9, 2004, the Jewish Western Bulletin carried a disturbing article under the title “Israel supporters in cabinet” ( http://www.jewishbulletin.ca/archives/Jan04/archives04Jan09-01.html ) One member of “Liberal Parliamentarians for Israel”, Stephen Owen, the new Canadian minister of public works and government services, brags (even gloats) about the influence their group has in the new Cabinet. He is doing this with total disregard for the suffering being inflicted on the Palestinian people, and with disregard for the ramifications such support for war crimes could mean for them personally and for the Canadian government as a whole.
International human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, have categorized Israeli military actions in the West Bank and Gaza as “war crimes”. A January 8, 2004 report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs further detailed recent Israeli war crimes in Nablus. (see http://www.reliefweb.int/w/RWB.NSF/6686f45896f15dbc852567ae00530132/4c2b5ea9eea1a05bc1256 e19005a41dc?OpenDocument )
The continued Western support for Israel is what encourages and enables it to carry out more war crimes and massacres against the Palestinian people that have been under Israeli occupation for the past 36 years. It also prolongs the occupation of Palestinian and Arab lands; it is time for people to take a stand against those who perpetuate the suffering and oppression of other people.
Support for war crimes connotes direct responsibility for them. Silence about these war crimes is complicity in them.
Accordingly, we call on you to dismiss Mr. Owen and all the other ministers who implicate Canada in these war crimes in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention: http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm
We will also be calling on all peace-loving people to immediately convey their strongest condemnation to you personally and to the Canadian government about this infamy.
Chairperson, Canada Palestine Association http://www.cpavancouver.org
Host, Voice of Palestine, Vancouver http://www.voiceofpalestine.ca