Monday, June 5, 2017

June 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the beginning of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories.

As part of its ongoing monitoring and assessment of developments in the enduring conflict in the Middle East, the Canadian Labour Congress reaffirms its support of a peace-building process between Israel and Palestine through the establishment of two sovereign nations. The CLC joins those who support the vision of two nations co-existing in peace and security, within safe borders, free from occupation.

There is international consensus that direct negotiations between Israel and Palestine are the only viable avenue to resolution of the conflict. At the Paris Peace Conference in mid-January this year, more than 70 countries, including Canada, warned that the two-state solution is under threat and encouraged both sides in the conflict to resume talks.

Unfortunately, there is serious concern that any immediate resumption of direct talks has been jeopardized by Israeli government policies that have been found to be in contravention of international law. These include aggressive settlement expansion and demolition of Palestinian homes in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, the fragmentation and economic isolation of Palestinian communities in the West Bank, the blockade of Gaza, and the endurance of the separation wall. Ongoing eruptions of violence against civilians by either side have further derailed diplomatic efforts.

The new U.S. administration’s endorsement of the settlements and intentions to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem also imperil the likelihood of renewed talks.

In the context of attacks on the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, the CLC will continue to defend freedom of speech and the right to legitimate protest.

Despite the challenges, the Government of Canada still has a significant role to play to advance a just and peaceful two-state solution in the Middle East.

The CLC appreciates that the government has reinstated funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), cancelled under the Harper government in 2010.

The CLC supports the recognition of the State of Palestine and notes that 137 member states of the United Nations have already recognized Palestinian statehood.

If Canada is truly committed to a two-state solution, the government must acknowledge the current stalemate and go beyond a diplomatic status quo to unequivocally recognize the State of Palestine.

The CLC reaffirms the principles adopted in its 2011 Statement on Israel-Palestine (attached) outlining support for the many UN Security Council Resolutions, which have recognized the 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine, called for an end to the occupation and illegal settlements and are aimed at a fundamental achievement of a just and lasting peace.

Background: In 2011 the CLC adopted the statement on Israel-Palestine, approved by the Executive Council in March and adopted by the CLC National Council in November. The statement outlined support for UN Security Council Resolution 242, which recognizes the 1967 borders of Israel and Palestine, and Resolution 338, which is aimed at a fundamental achievement of a just and lasting peace.