May 10, 2002The Right Honourable Jean Chrétien, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Bill Graham, Foreign Affairs Minister
The Honourable Gar Knutson, Secretary of State
The Honourable Jean Augustine, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee
The Honourable Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of International Trade
The Honourable Susan Whelan, Minister of International Cooperation
Dear Madame and Sirs:
We the undersigned, Canadian artists, writers, educators and cultural workers, have watched in great distress the violence and destruction perpetrated by the Israeli Army against the Palestinian communities in Occupied Palestine since March 29, 2002. We are horrified by the senseless loss of life and the systematic destruction of Palestinian civilian, educational and cultural infrastructures under the guise of fighting terrorism. We condemn the deliberate targeting of civilians in Palestine and in Israel. We are horrified by the escalating culture of violence, and the lasting effects it will have on generations to come.
We are disappointed by the international community's unwillingness to effectively respond to the Government of Israel's repeated violations of the 4th Geneva Convention and the UN resolutions, and its blatant disregard for human rights. We add our voices to countless others, including Israeli peace activists, who consider the Israeli occupation, through military campaigns and the expansion of illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, to be at the root of the ongoing cycle of violence. Canada cannot absolve itself of its humanitarian responsibilities toward the people of both nations by deferring to United States foreign policy and relying on the goodwill of the Government of Israel.
Therefore, we call on the Government of Canada to do the following:
- To demand immediate, unconditional and complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces to pre-1967 borders, and the dismantling of all Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine.
- To use all its resources in the international scene to pressure the Government of Israel into compliance with international laws and the UN resolutions.
- To support the UN and independent fact-finding missions to investigate all violations committed by Israel in Occupied Palestine.
- To call for a UN peacekeeping mission and an observational presence in the region.
- To call for international sanctions against Israel in the event that it does not comply with any of the above.
- To allocate substantial aid toward the reconstruction of the Palestinian homes and civil, cultural, educational and political infrastructures.
We believe in the inalienable right of the Palestinian people to an independent state. We support the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland according to international conventions. We honour the indomitable spirit of the Palestinian people who continue to survive and resist the illegal occupation of their lands. We are deeply heartened by the courageous efforts of the peace and anti-occupation activists inside Israel who are calling for the end of the occupation as the condition for a just and sustainable peace, and who are working, together with many Palestinians, for a life of security and dignity for both peoples.
We urgently call on you to show leadership and take action in support of human rights and the sanctity of life.
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