Open Letter to Opposition Leader Stockwell Day

Dear Mr. Day:

We were outraged at the “Alliance” statement issued in your name and the name of the opposition Foreign Affairs critic Monte Solberg on Oct. 9, 2000, criticizing the Canadian Government for voting with UN Security Council Resolution 1322. Resolution 1322 condemned the “acts of violence, especially the excessive use of force against Palestinians, resulting in injury and loss of human life” during the last two weeks.

It seems to us, Mr. Day, that you see the situation through Israeli goggles. We did not hear your concern about the many Israeli violations of the “peace” agreements or breaking the many deadlines, the latest being Sep.13, 2000. We did not hear your concern about the many Israeli violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention as an occupying power. We did not see your indignation at the refusal of Israel to implement the hundreds of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions for the past 53 years, including resolutions 194 and 242.

It seems to us that ignorance of the situation is not behind such a press release. Your Deputy Critic for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gurmant Grewal, visited Israel / Palestine and made balanced statements about the plight of the Palestinian people. So if it is not ignorance, then we have to conclude that it is electioneering. If this is so, it is the most immoral kind of electioneering that has NO conscience. Building empires on the skulls of innocent children and the dispossession of a whole nation is not civilized, democratic, ethical nor human.

Mr. Day, we agree with you: “Canada should avoid taking sides and work toward peace.” However, this has not been the case beginning with the 1947 partition plan, where Mr. Lester Pearson played an active role in securing its passage. The Zionists called him the “Balfour of Canada” for his efforts on their behalf. It is enough to look at “Canada’s Position on Key Issues” issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (Dec.1996) to realize that an Israeli pen wrote this paper. The Oct. 3, 2000 “equating the victim with victimizer” statement by the same department shows clearly where this current government stands. Canada always supported Israel concretely and only paid lip service to Palestinian human and national rights.

Mr. Day, the Palestinian people are sick and tired of unimplemented UN resolutions, 1322 is yet another resolution which will become dusty on the shelves of the UN. The Palestinian people are also sick and tired of UN, US and Israeli empty promises and they are also sick and tired of the many manufactured lies. They are sick and tired of being treated as sub humans. And finally they are sick and tired of the hypocrisy of the west led by Washington when it comes to implementing UN resolutions. They are asking why UN resolutions against Israel are not implemented with the same vigor and speed as they are implemented against Iraq and Yugoslavia.

Mr. Day there will only be peace in the Middle East when a JUST solution is reached that recognizes the historic injustices against the Palestinian people, and not a solution that victimizes them more.

In the next federal election we will make sure to vote for a party with a social justice agenda, and for a candidate with conscience and human compassion, and not for a candidate who sells himself / herself to the highest bidder.

Thank you for your consideration,

Truly yours
Hanna Kawas
Information Officer Arab Palestine Association.

c.c. Prime Minister Jean Chrietien
Palestine representative to Canada Dr. Baker Abdel Munem

Since you say you are a “Good Christian”, we enclose two statements by Christian leaders in Palestine who know the historic facts and names.

(1) Letter of Patriarch Michel Sabbah about the actual situation
4-Oct-2000 — EWTN Feature Story

To our brothers, sons and daughters, priests, religious, men and women, and all our faithful.

Brothers and Sisters,

Peace upon you from God our Father, and Jesus Christ our Savior, and may the love of the Holy Spirit fill your hearts and minds. Amen.

We read in the Gospel of Saint Luke about some bloody incidents which took place in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ, as follows: “It was just about this time that some people arrived and told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with that of their sacrifices. At this he said to them: Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than any others, that this should have happened to them? They were not, I tell you. No; but unless you repent you will all perish as they did” (Lk 13:1-3).

The lesson is clear: penitence will save from bloodshed. Penitence means to see God and all God’s children; it means to imitate God in his love and justice in all relations between persons and peoples.

In light of this penitence, we see that the present events which we experience in these days, invite us to raise our prayers to God, and to ask him to enlighten the minds of those who are responsible of our government in this land, and to give also to us light and strength to know how to chose and to make our destiny as we want it to be, in this confused and troubled world, where good is mingled with evil, and in which justice is often lacking in our human society.

The painful and bloody events which we are living today, following the provocation of religious feelings in the Haram As- Sharif (the Noble Mosque) tells one thing: the Palestinian people claims for life and freedom. And he will have life and freedom, sooner or later. We hope it will be sooner than later. Because violence cannot be the guide of life in this Holy Land. Justice is the only guide and symbol. It is high time for every leader in this land to understand that. It is not in vain that the situation came suddenly to this explosion. Those young and old who are offering their lives are not doing it to aggress anybody: they are only defending their holy places, their freedom and their life. Blood today is crying to God claiming for justice and human dignity.

The only way of coming back to quiet times is to go back to the peace talks, and to see how to go back to the situation which was prevailing before 1967. The way of quieting the situation is to understand that Holy Places cannot be touched, and cannot be subject of any bargaining. To dispose soldiers, military cars and even missiles will not bring tranquillity and order, only justice will. And the way of justice was already open in the peace talks, and was on the point to reach its aim: it should be resumed. Enough bloodshed. The people should be given his right to life and to self-determination. The Palestinian State must be born and have stability which allows it to reorganize its own affairs, external and internal. The Holy City should be the city of reconciliation, after installing justice in it: Palestinian Jerusalem should be the capital of Palestine, as West Jerusalem the capital of Israel. And above all that, it should remain the “holy city”, and its holiness protected and respected by its own governors, and by the requirements which its sanctity imposes on the entire international community. We call upon our political leaders Palestinians and Israelis to continue their search of a just peace, and we call upon the international community to help both parties to reach what is just and right according to the international legitimacy. We hope that the leaders of this land, as well as the international community, will understand that: then every one will enjoy tranquility; all the region will have peace, security and tranquility, as no injustice will remain weighing upon the Palestinian people who has so far suffered so much.

Brothers and sisters, for that we pray, and we call upon you to pray and to contribute in reaching tranquil times, for the glory of God and of man in this land which God has blessed. We ask God Almighty to give you light and strength, and to give all the leaders in this land light and strength to do what is right and what is just. For all we pray, for Palestinians and Israelis, for Christians, Moslems and Jews, may God inspire justice and reconciliation in the hearts and minds of all. Amen.

Jerusalem, 2 October 2000.
+ Michel Sabbah Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem

(2) Statement of Their Beatitudes the Patriarchs and Heads of the Christian Communities in Jerusalem
Dated 30 September 2000

“With a resolute Christian faith that is predicated upon the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and which calls for love, forgiveness and fellowship, We express our deep sorrow at the painful events that occurred at the Haram al-Sharif on midday, 29 September 2000. We offer our sincerest condolences to the whole Palestinian people in general and to the bereaved families in particular, and denounce the aggression on the sanctuary of a holy place in Jerusalem. We consider that such a violation is tantamount to a violation on any and all Christian and Muslim holy sites, and affirm our solidarity with the Palstinian people, Muslims and Christians alike, in defending their fundamental rights of worship and prayer in Jerusalem. In so doing, We also reject any provocation against the feelings of the faithful irrespective of its nature, shape or presence.

We re-affirm hereby our Christian position, as we have done time and again in our previous statements, of the need to ensure the freedom of movement, access, worship and prayer, as much as the need to put an end to violations against all holy places in Jerusalem. We call for the implementation of all relevant and binding resolutions that reflect the principles of international legitimacy, and particularly those related to Jerusalem, in order to secure a comprehensive, just and lasting peace for the peoples of all the three monotheistic religions in the Holy Land.

‘How wonderful it is, how pleasant, for God’s people to live together in harmony!’ Ps 133:1”