Canada Cuts Ties to Palestinian Authority
Canada has severed diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority because the Hamas-led government refuses to renounce violence.
Canada has become the first country after Israel to cut funding and diplomatic ties to the Palestinian Authority over the new Hamas government’s refusal to renounce violence. The Conservatives say they will still offer humanitarian aid to Palestinians through the United Nations and other agencies. But Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said Wednesday that Ottawa cannot go farther. “As you know, Hamas is a terrorist organization — listed in this country — and we cannot send any direct aid to an organization that refuses to renounce terrorist activity, refuses to renounce violence.”
This is getting predictable reactions:
That was little comfort for Faraj Nakhleh, acting president of the Canadian Arab Federation. “What is at stake is that there’s a population of about 3.5 million people in the West Bank and Gaza that is starving.” After decades of Israeli occupation, Palestinians are now effectively being punished for democratically electing a government they believe can help, he said. “Suddenly we’re saying: `It’s okay to have a democratic vote, but if we don’t like the result then you can’t have that.’
“I’m not defending any Hamas group. All I’m saying is, they were elected.”
At the very least, Canada and other countries should be making the same peaceful demands of Israel, says Wahida Valiante, national vice-president of the Canadian Islamic Congress. “It’s a two-way street. “Canada is blindly following the lead of Washington,” and of pro-Israel lobby groups, she said.
Of course, the Israeli government does not strap bombs to children and send them to Palestinian shopping malls to blow up civilians.