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Canada and Palestinian Authority Feud Over ICC

January 26, 2015

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”  (Proverbs 17:17)

Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird criticized the Palestinian Authority (PA) last week for filing a petition to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague against Israel.

In a display of continued brotherly love for Israel, Baird said, “First and foremost, Israel—every time it comes under attack—seems to have to have one hand tied behind its back.  And what this seems to do is tie the other hand behind its back.”  (JPost)

In Jerusalem, Minister Baird speaks at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

In Jerusalem, Minister Baird speaks at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Canada, which is the second largest country (in land mass) with the 11th highest ranking economy, has given the Palestinian Authority over $350 million, but this did not stop PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat from criticizing Bair in an op-ed published in the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail for supporting Israel.

The feud between Baird and Erekat heated up when Erekat said there was “no difference between the terrorism practiced by the [Islamic State] group led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and Israel’s terrorism.”

Baird demanded an apology from Erekat, adding, “Mr. Erekat should instead focus his efforts on negotiating a peaceful solution for the good of the Palestinian people, and spend less time working to inflame tensions in the region.”

Justice-morality-International Criminal Court-Inquiry-Israel-Hamas

Justice and morality according to the International Criminal Court: Hamas attacks Israel with thousands of rockets and terror tunnels, and the court launches an inquiry against Israel.  (Source: PM Benjamin Netanyahu Facebook)

Erekat responded with his own demand that Baird apologize for what Erekat considers “his active encouragement of Israel’s brute and ugly occupation and its apartheid policies.  He should apologize for failing to promote those things Canadians hold dear such as freedom, dignity and human rights and for replacing those ideals with an outspoken support of Israel’s clear and undisputed violations of international law.”  (Globe and Mail)

When Baird went to Ramallah to visit with PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, Erekat said, “We regret the Canadian government’s decision to stand on the wrong side of history, by blindly supporting the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policies.”  (Reuters)

Baird’s car was pelted with eggs and shoes as it left for Jerusalem.

When asked about the incident, Baird who was in the country for the sixth time since becoming foreign minister four years ago, told the Jerusalem Post, “I’m a big boy.  A few eggs are not going to intimidate me or Canada from the moral clarity with which we approach these issues.”

During his visit, Baird told reporters that Canada supports a Palestinian state but that it must result from peace negotiations with Israel and not through unilateral action.

He said that the Palestinians “made a huge mistake” when they pressed the ICC to charge Israel with war crimes resulting from the recent Gaza war.

Foreign Affairs Minister-John Baird-PM Benjamin Netanyahu-Israel

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird meets with Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of the State of Israel, in Tel Aviv, Israel.

While not specifically declaring how Canada plans to respond, he did say, “We’ve registered our objection and will continue to advocate for them to take a different course.”

And although he did not specifically declare support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, he did stress the importance of a Jewish homeland “with anti-Semitism rising in so many parts of the world.”

Before their meeting, Netanyahu praised Canada for its moral clarity saying, “You have consistently demonstrated a willingness to stand up for what is right and to oppose what is wrong,” and adding, “To fight Islamist terrorism, we need clarity and courage; Canada has both.”   (JPost)

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