Canada Refuses To Speak Against Israeli Illegal Occupation

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Canada was the only country to vote against a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution deploring the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Forty-six other coucil members, including Italy, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Brazil, Argentina and Mexico voted in favor of the resolution.


The following text has been excerpted from this United Nations press release.

In a resolution (A/HRC/10/L.5) on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in the occupied Syrian Golan , adopted by a vote of 46 in favour, one against, and no abstentions, as orally revised, the Council deplores the recent Israeli announcements of the construction of new housing units for Israeli settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, as they undermine the peace process and the creation of a contiguous, sovereign and independent Palestinian State; expresses grave concern at, inter alia, the continuing Israeli settlement and related activities; the increasing number of newly built structures amounting in 2008 to 1,257; the implications for the final status negotiations of Israel's announcement that it will retain the major settlement blocks in the Occupied Palestinian Territory; the expansion of Israeli settlements and the construction of new ones on the Occupied Palestinian Territory rendered inaccessible behind the wall, which create a fait accompli on the ground that could be tantamount to de facto annexation; the continued closures of and within the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the repeated closures of the crossing points of the Occupied Gaza Strip; the continued construction, contrary to international law, of the wall inside the Occupied Palestinian Territory; and the latest Israeli plan to demolish more than 88 houses in Al-Bustan neighbourhood at Silwan which will be resulting in displacing more than 1,500 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem. The Council urges Israel, the occupying Power, to reverse the settlement policy in the occupied territories as a first step towards their dismantlement, to stop immediately the expansion of the existing settlements, including "natural growth" and related activities; urges the full implementation of the Access and Movement Agreement of 15 November 2005, particularly the urgent reopening of the Rafah and Karni crossings; calls upon Israel to take and implement serious measures, including confiscation of arms and enforcement of criminal sanctions, with the aim of preventing acts of violence by Israeli settlers; and urges the parties to give renewed impetus to the peace process in line with the Annapolis Peace Conference and the Paris International Donors' Conference for the Palestinian State and to implement fully the road map endorsed by the Security Council in its resolution 1515 (2003).

The result of the vote were as follows:

In favour (46): Angola, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Egypt, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uruguay and Zambia.

Against (1): Canada.

Abstentions (0):


TERRY CORMIER ( Canada ), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said that maintenance and expansion of settlements on territories confiscated by Israel since 1967 was a violation of international law. Canada was concerned about the draft resolution as it was not balanced and did not refer to the Palestinian obligation, which did not contribute to a peaceful and fair solution to the conflict. For those reasons Canada called for a vote and would vote against the draft resolution.


KONRAD SCHARINGER ( Germany ), speaking on behalf of the European Union members of the Council , in a general comment, said that Israeli settlements, for example in east Jerusalem, were illegal under international law. Settlements were an obstacle to peace. Israel should freeze all settlement action and dismantle outposts erected since March 2001. The European Union would vote in favour of the resolution, as had been agreed by the European Union as a whole

FAYSAL KHABBAZ HAMOUI ( Syria ), speaking in an explanation of the vote before the vote, said the introduction of the resolution came in a particular context, during escalated activities, which was very dangerous in the colonised territories including Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These activities were undertaken after Israel's 1967 aggression, since which Israel had stolen Palestinian territory, bringing more and more foreigners from the four corners of the world to settle there. They were seeking excuses such as necessary expansion to justify the theft of Arab lands. Colonisation activities continued even during peace negotiations, and were attempts to impose a fait accompli on the territories and to modify the demographic architecture of the territories, which was a violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Council should grapple with this very dangerous policy so that there was opportunity for fair and comprehensive peace in the region, and rights were brought back to those living without them.

MARGHOOB SALEEM BUTT ( Pakistan ), speaking on behalf of the Organization for the Islamic Conference and the Arab Group , introducing the draft resolution on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and in the occupied Syrian Golan, said in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law Israel was building and expanding settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. The resolution sought to establish the legal framework based on the Charter, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Human Rights Council and the International Advisory Court of Justice, among others. The establishment of further settlements and the expansion of existing ones was contrary to international law. The draft resolution expressed grave concern at the settlement activities that were a violation of international law, in the West Bank and the expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. There was also concern over the repeated closures of Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the plan to demolish houses in East Jerusalem which would displace 1,500 Palestinians. The draft also encouraged Israel to accept the recommendations made by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on settlements, and the International Criminal Court on the wall. It was hoped that the draft resolution would be accepted with consensus.