Proposed GPC Policy on Israel and Palestine

The Green Party of Canada statement to its members:

“Dear Members,

“As so many of you are aware, there was a disagreement on Green Party policy on Israel and Palestine after the Convention in August.

“Since that time, many of you have reached out with questions and concerns. There appeared to be growing division on this issue and as such, it was felt, for the good of the party, that we should work together to reach consensus on a slightly modified position.

“We are pleased to say that a resolution will be introduced in Calgary that has the full support of Dimitri Lascaris, who was the sponsor of the BDS motion in Ottawa in August, and our party leader, Elizabeth May. It also has the full support of Shadow Cabinet which was involved in creating this resolution.

“My overall objective is to ensure that pressure is brought to bear on the Israeli government to recognize the civil and political rights of Palestinians and put an end to the suffering of Palestinians in the illegally occupied territories and in refugee camps outside of those territories. I feel this resolution allows for this to happen in both practical and political ways” says Dimitri Lascaris.

“GPC Leader, Elizabeth May, says “This resolution is very specific about what we feel is illegal and unjust and calls for remedies and actions that are appropriate for a political party and a government. It also shows the Green Party’s ability to work with those with differing views and find common ground, a workable consensus.”

“Both May and Lascaris stress the importance of the Green Party to reach a position independent of outside organizations with strong positions on matters relating to the Middle East. Lascaris says, “This resolution will be too strong for some and not strong enough for others, but it has not given in to any one interest group. It is informed and balanced.”

“This is not the only resolution which will be on the floor at the Special General Meeting in Calgary on Dec. 3-4. However, due to the amount of conventional media attention and discussion on social media, we felt it was important to let you know ahead of time about the progress being made.

“We trust you will give this your thoughtful consideration.”

Elizabeth May and Dimitri Lascaris
Elizabeth May and Dimitri Lascaris

[PLEASE NOTE: When originally posted I inadvertently cut and pasted the incomplete text below.  This has now been rectified. ~ LLR]

The full text of the resolution follows:

S16-P013
Resolution Type

Policy
Submitter Name

Shadow Cabinet
Preamble

WHEREAS Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population to territory it occupies, and

WHEREAS Israel has continued to construct new settlements and to expand existing settlements in the OPT, to demolish Palestinian homes and other civilian infrastructure in the OPT and condones actions which deprive Palestinians’ rights to security and self determination, and

WHEREAS U.N. General Assembly resolution 273(111), which Canada co-sponsored, admitted Israel as a state to the United Nations and was based on the condition that Israel honour both the Partition Plan of November 28, 1947 and U.N. General Assembly Resolution
194 of December 11, 1948, which provided for the right of return of Palestinian refugees, and

WHEREAS Israel has failed to respect these commitments and has not complied with other relevant U.N. resolutions, and

WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter acknowledges the “[u]nderstanding that many of the world’s peoples and nations have been impoverished by the long centuries of colonization and exploitation,” AND

WHEREAS the Global Greens Charter recognizes “the rights of indigenous people and their contribution to the common heritage, as well as the right of all minorities and oppressed peoples to their culture, religion, economic and cultural life,” AND

WHEREAS the Palestinian people are among the indigenous people of the geographic region now designated as Israel and the OPT, and

WHEREAS Canada is a high contracting party to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the Fourth Geneva Convention obliges all parties thereto, including Canada, to ensure respect for the Convention by other parties thereto, including Israel, “in all circumstances”, and

WHEREAS the Green Party of Canada opposes all forms of racism and discrimination, does not allow any Islamophobic or anti-Semitic elements in the party, and is concerned that Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise;

Operative

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada (GPC) calls on the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people and the State of Israel to accord mutually recognized statehood.

BE IT RESOLVED that Green Party of Canada denounces violence in all of its forms, recognizes that it can only lead to failure in conflict resolution, and supports only non-violent responses to violence and oppression, including economic measures such as government sanctions, consumer boycotts, institutional divestment, economic sanctions and arms embargoes; and

BE IT RESOLVED the GPC calls on the Government of Israel to: respect the intent of UN Resolution 194, the implementation of which is to be negotiated in good faith with the legitimate representatives of the Palestinians, accord to the Arab-Palestinian population of Israel equal political and civil rights, and end Israel’s illegal occupation of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) and the Golan Heights, and Israel’s siege of Gaza;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada reconfirms its policy of condemning illegal settlement construction in the OPT, and calls for an immediate end to further settlement construction and expansion, and the dismantling of current settlements in the OPT, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Canada take strong diplomatic action, including economic pressure, in order to ensure the attainment of the three objectives identified in the preceding paragraph and to encourage Israel to enter into good faith negotiations with legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state. Such economic pressure should include, but not be limited to:

  • A ban on the importation into Canada of products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses directly benefiting from the illegal occupation;
  • Renegotiation of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement (CIFTA) such that it explicitly excludes products produced wholly or partly within or by illegal Israeli settlements, or by Israeli businesses operating within the OPT;
  • The strengthening of CIFTA compliance/audit provisions in such ways and clauses as to ensure that imported products labeled “Made in Israel” are actually produced, entirely and exclusively, within Israel’s internationally recognized borders;
  • The termination and indefinite suspension of all military and surveillance trade and cooperation between, on the one hand, the Government of Canada and Canadian corporations or residents of Canada and, on the other hand, the State of Israel, Israeli corporations or residents of Israel’s illegal settlements;
  • The repeal the House of Commons resolution condemning the BDS movement (Vote #14, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session; 22 February 2016.)

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to assess the investments it has under its control and to divest from any companies which are directly benefiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC calls on the Government of Canada to warn of the legal consequences of trade and investment in the illegal settlements;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada, and if elected, a Green government, as part of a policy on ethical purchases, will not purchase or use products produced by companies which are profiting from activity within Israel’s illegal settlements or
its occupation of the OPT; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to recognize the State of Palestine, and, should Canada gain a seat on the UN Security Council, the Green Party of Canada calls on the Canadian Government to pursue aggressively all possible diplomatic pressure on Israel, as well as on the United States to use its massive military aid to Israel as a lever to push for peace; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada calls on the Government of Canada to ask the International Criminal Court to prioritize its investigation into charges of potential war crimes by members of the Israeli forces, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that; Policy G16-P006-A Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions as voted on at the August 2016 BGM be repealed and replaced by this policy.

Sponsors

Jo-Ann Roberts, Lorraine Rekmans, Lora Teuschler, Lynne Quarmby Bob Warwick, Wes Regan, Erich Jacoby Hawkins, Jim Manly, Elizabeth May, Debra Eindiguer, Richard Walsh, Jonathan Dickie, Jeff Wheeldon, Glenn Sollitt, Joe Foster, Kate Storey, Ilan Goldenblatt, Brian Smallshaw, Jean-Luc Cooke, Richard Zurawski, Laurie Macmillan


Background

The Green Party of Canada is firmly committed to human rights, peaceful resolutions of conflict and international law. Of all the political parties in Canada, the GPC has the most thoughtful, detailed and balanced policy on the Israeli-Palestinian position of any party.

This resolution and review of our Middle East policies is an effort to update Green Party policies through consensus-decision-making. The following is proposed for adoption at the Calgary meeting December 3-4, 2016:

The Green Party of Canada reconfirms the following policies, passed between 1988 and 2014, which have been decided on through the consensus-decision-making process:

Resolved:

G08-p030: Palestinian Right to Statehood

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada endorse the recognition of a Palestinian right to statehood within the internationally recognized borders as described in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242.

G08-p042: Israel/Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the Green Party of Canada:
1. Support a two-state solution to the Israel- Palestine conflict that adheres to pre-1967 borders and also seeks to incorporate an international plan for stimulating economic prosperity in both nations.
2. Call on both sides to immediately stop the killing of civilians and adhere to international law.
3. Encourage the Canadian government to press for a mutually agreed upon honest broker to engage in bi-literal and multi-lateral peace talks involving Palestinians and Israelis.
4. Call on Arab countries to use their influence to broker an agreement between Hamas and the Palestinian National Authority to facilitate the promotion of peace amongst the competing Palestinian interests.
5. Call for an end to the collective siege of Gaza so that medical and humanitarian aid can be provided.
6. Actively support the efforts of civil society groups working for peace, human rights, and justice in the region.

G10-p09 Recognizing Palestinian Products as Palestinian

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada would seek to introduce legislation that would amend the Canada Israel free trade agreement. This change would require Israel to label as Palestinian, products and services from lands recognized under international law as Palestinian territory.

G14-P22 Condemning Illegal Israeli Settlement Expansions

BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Green Party of Canada fully condemn all illegal Israeli settlement expansions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories as undeniable obstacles to the Israel-Palestine peace-process.

G14-P58 Israel – Palestine Conflict

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC urges the immediate cessation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine. The GPC will adopt a posture of engaged neutrality, opening all available diplomatic avenues in both Palestine and Israel to press for a peaceful resolution to the conflict consistent with the GPC’s commitment to justice and custom of speaking truth to power.

BGM 2016 Policies

There are two policies directly related to Israel and Palestine, which passed at the August 2016 BGM. The first policy was split out from the original resolution and passed by consensus. The second policy was passed by majority but not by consensus and will be repealed and replaced by this resolution if passed by consensus.

G16-P006-1 Opposing Prohibition of BDS (passed by consensus)
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC opposes all efforts to prohibit, punish or otherwise deter expressions of support for BDS.

G16-P006-2 Palestinian Self-Determination and the Movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
(passed by majority but not by consensus – this policy will be replaced by the new policy being proposed)

BE IT RESOLVED that the GPC supports the use of divestment, boycott and sanctions (“BDS”) that are targeted to those sectors of Israel’s economy and society which profit from the ongoing occupation of the OPT;

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the GPC will support such a form of BDS until such time as Israel implements a permanent ban on further settlement construction in the OPT, and enters into good faith negotiations with representatives of the Palestinian people for the purpose of establishing a viable, contiguous and truly sovereign Palestinian state.

Background on the Policy Update

In the years since the GPC adopted this policy, to which we are still committed, the situation has worsened. The possibility of a two-state solution is diminishing directly due to the Netanyahu government’s support for illegal expansion and increasingly brutal military occupation. Even over 200 former members of Israeli Defense Forces (“Security First”) have decried the worsening security situation for Israelis and Palestinians – and laid the blame directly on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies. The former Israeli military officers have raised the alarm of a “humanitarian crisis in Gaza” and the diminishing chances for a two-state solution.

Clearly, Canada needs to do more to register with the Israeli government that flouting international law and threatening the security of its own people while violating the human rights of Palestinians is not acceptable. In doing so, Canada must continue to condemn violence from the militant elements of Palestinian society.

https://www.greenparty.ca/en/sgm-2016/voting/resolutions/s16-p013


Post script:

For Thomas Teuwen’s comparison of the two resolutions and explanation why Elizabeth May felt unable to support the resolution passed in August, but felt confident in sponsoring this new resolution check out  http://www.sgigreenparty.ca/consensus_resolution

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