Canada stands with Palestinians, refusing to change UNGA vote
Canada stuck to its decision to stand with the Palestinians at the United Nations General Assembly, casting a “yes” vote on an annual resolution in support of Palestinian self-determination.The vote, which passed 167-5 with 11 abstentions, is one of at least 18 pro-Palestinian and or anti-Israeli texts that the UNGA is scheduled to approve this month.
Canada is traditionally one of the countries that stands with Israel by either rejecting or abstaining from such resolutions.
But last month, during a preliminary vote at the Third Committee, Canada reversed one of its traditional voting patterns by voting “yes” instead of “no” after the United States clarified that it no longer views West Bank settlements as illegal. It has made no other change to its voting pattern.
After the vote, a representative of Canada explained his country’s change of vote, stating that it was a signal in support of a two-state solution.
“Canada is a strong ally and a close friend of Israel, continuing a partnership that has advanced the shared values and interests of the two democracies for 70 years,” he said.
“Canada is strongly committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. Canada’s vote today is a reflection of this long standing commitment,” he said.
“Canada voted in support of this resolution as it addresses one of the core issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Canada strongly supports the international consensus on a two-state solution, so that both peoples can have a secure and prosperous future. This is particularly important at a time when the prospects for two states for two peoples is increasingly under threat,” he said.
He then chastised the UNGA for approving “too many” resolutions that unfairly single out Israel for criticism.
“These resolutions do not address the complexities of the issues or seek to address the actions and responsibilities of all parties, including the destructive role of terror organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the conflict. Canada continues to vote “no” on these one-sided resolutions,” he said.
The five “no” votes against Palestinian self-determination were: Israel, the US, Micronesia, the Marshall Islands and Nauru.
The abstaining countries were: Australia, Cameroon, Guatemala, Honduras, Kiribati, Lesotho, Palau, Rwanda, Togo, Tonga, and Vanuatu. During an initial vote last month, only nine countries abstained. But this time around two additional countries abstained; Lesotho, which had voted in favor of the resolution, and Palau, which had been absent for the vote.
All EU countries supported the resolution.
Israel has argued that all the 18 resolutions should be rejected to protest the UNGA decision to approve more resolutions on Israel than any other country.
Canada’s Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) had pressured the Canadian government to reverse that decision, including by meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this month.
“Trudeau said that Canada’s vote on this resolution will not change back because Canada seeks to underscore its commitment to a two-state solution,” CIJA CEO Shimon K. Fogel said.
He noted that Trudeau committed not to change any other Canadian votes related to Israel at the UN.
“CIJA expects that Canada will adopt meaningful and tangible ways to reaffirm its unqualified support for and friendship with Israel,” Fogel said.
The Geneva-based UN Watch has collected 37,000 signatures for an online petition calling on Trudeau to reverse Canada’s vote.
“The resolution condemns Israel’s anti-terrorism barrier yet omits to mention that it was built in response to the Second Intifada, which killed or wounded 8,341 Israelis by Palestinian suicide bombings, shootings, stoning, stabbing, lynchings, rockets and other methods of attack,” said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer. “The resolution was presented last month mere days after PIJ fired hundreds of rockets at Israelis, yet the text fails to say a word about this either.
”The UNGA is voted in support of a resolution combating the “glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fueling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.”