The Canadian Labour Congress condemns the recent unilateral move by Israel to annex parts of Palestinian territory. This move dismantles decades of work towards a just and negotiated settlement between Israel and Palestine.
Israel’s new coalition government has announced it will move forward with the process of annexing West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley as early as July.
The unilateral annexation of territory has been strictly prohibited under international law since 1945 when the Charter of the United Nations was adopted. Israel’s control of the Palestinian territories has been denounced as illegal under international law and in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the Geneva Convention.
Under Israeli occupation, Palestinians have been forced to live under heavy restrictions that limit their access to work, health, housing and social affairs. As Israel has expanded its settlements and built a separation wall around Palestinian lands – illegal acts under international law – Palestinians have been subject to evictions and displacement, confiscation of land, settler violence and loss of access to natural resources.
This annexation will have devastating social and economic implications. It is expected that this would disconnect around 200,000 Palestinians from their communities and livelihoods. It will also advance the annexation of Jerusalem and destroy the establishment of a Palestinian capital in the city, breaking the territorial contiguity between East Jerusalem and the West Bank. This contiguity is essential for the fabric of life for Palestinians.
The government of Canada must send a strong message in opposition to the illegal and unilateral annexation of Palestinian lands and officially recognize the State of Palestine, based on the pre-1967 borders. Canada must consider a forceful response, including revisiting the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement and other bilateral agreements and the imposition of economic sanctions against Israel.