April 09, 2018
Statement by Elizabeth May (MP, Saanich-Gulf Islands)
From March 30 to April 6, I participated in a study trip to areas of Palestine and Israel with 17 other MPs from all five parties organized by the Canada-Palestinian Parliamentary Friendship Group. Before our departure, Global Affairs Canada asked us all to keep public and social media comments to a minimum during our trip. For that reason, my statement on what occurred on Good Friday-Passover, March 30 and the following Friday, April 6, is delayed. Because I was there, I have more details and a strong sense of the facts on the ground.
The shooting of unarmed civilians in a peaceful protest along the border between Gaza and Israel is a clear violation of all accepted international norms. No one has made a credible claim that the shooting was in self-defence, or that the Gaza civilians were in any way a threat to Israel.
There is no question about the intentionality of the Israeli military. It has since taken credit for snipers doing exactly what was ordered. Every bullet went where it was intended to go, say the commanders. This claim by the Israel Defence Forces makes it very clear that there was no accidental shooting. No one panicked. This was a systematic plan to murder unarmed civilians.
What we as MPs heard from members of the Palestinian Cabinet was that this demonstration was the first time Hamas had committed to non-violence.
Clearly, the claims and counter-claims must be investigated by an independent international tribunal, but there is overwhelming evidence that the Israeli military has violated the Geneva Conventions and numerous other elements of international law.
Canada must not remain silent. We must suspend all military trade with Israel and increase pressure for the world community to collectively present an honest broker to replace the United States in this ongoing conflict. Under the administration of Donald Trump, the United States can no longer play that critical role.
Canada can and should do much more in defence of the State of Israel and the two-state solution. The two-state solution is at serious risk of disappearing as Israel pursues a program for permanent occupation of Palestine, also a violation of international law.