Canadian Policy on Key Issues in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Support for Israel and its Security

Canada supports Israel's right to live in peace with its neighbours within secure boundaries and recognizes Israel's right to assure its own security, as witnessed by our support during the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah and our ongoing support for Israel's fight against terror. Israel has a right under international law to take the necessary measures, in accordance with human rights and international humanitarian law, to protect the security of its citizens from attacks by terrorist groups. Canada and Israel enjoy a steadfast friendship and strong, growing bilateral relations in many areas based on shared values, including democracy.

Support for the Palestinians

Canada recognizes the Palestinian right to self-determination and supports the creation of a sovereign, independent, viable, democratic and territorially contiguous Palestinian state, as part of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement.

Canada recognizes the Palestinian Authority (PA) as the governmental entity in the West Bank and Gaza. Canada also recognizes the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) as the principal representative of the Palestinian people Canada continues to support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and is working with the government led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in terms of much needed reform.

Working with its partners and through the United Nations, its agencies and other organizations, Canada continues to support and respond to the humanitarian and development needs of the Palestinian people. At the Paris Donors Conference in December 2007, Canada announced a commitment of $300 million over 5 years towards improving Palestinian security, governance and prosperity.

Support for a Comprehensive Peace Settlement

Canada is committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including the creation of a Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.

The 1993 Israel-Palestine Liberation Organization Declaration of Principles continues to provide the basis for a comprehensive agreement based on UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338. Canada welcomed the decision of the Palestine National Council to accept UN Security Council Resolution 242 as a basis for peace negotiations as well as mutual recognition by Israel and the PLO in 1993. Canada also strongly supports the Quartet's Road Map, which sets out the obligations of both parties and steps for establishment of a Palestinian state, and the process launched by the Annapolis Conference. Canada also supports the Arab Peace Initiative as a potential basis for a comprehensive Arab-Israeli settlement.

Status of Jerusalem

Canada considers the status of Jerusalem can be resolved only as part of a general settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute. Canada does not recognize Israel's unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.

Palestinian Refugees

Canada believes that a just solution to the Palestinian refugee issue is central to a settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as called for in United Nations General Assembly resolution 194 (1948) and United Nations Security Council resolution 242. A solution to the Palestinian refugee issue must be negotiated among the parties concerned in the context of a final status peace agreement. This solution should respect the rights of the refugees, in accordance with international law.

Canada has played a prominent role in the search for a viable and comprehensive solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, including through continuing to focus international attention on improving the situation of the more than four million Palestinian refugees.

Occupied Territories and Settlements

Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

Canada believes that both Israel and the Palestinian Authority must fully respect international human rights and humanitarian law which is key to ensuring the protection of civilians, and can contribute to the creation of a climate conducive to achieving a just, lasting and comprehensive peace settlement.

The Barrier

Canada recognizes Israel's right to protect its citizens from terrorist attacks, including through the restriction of access to its territory, and by building a barrier on its own territory for security purposes. However, Canada opposes Israel's construction of the barrier inside the West Bank and East Jerusalem which are occupied territories. This construction is contrary to international law under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Canada not only opposes Israel's construction of a barrier extending into the occupied territories, but also expropriations and the demolition of houses and economic infrastructure carried out for this purpose.

Terrorism

Canada condemns all acts of terrorism and terrorists should be brought to justice and prosecuted in accordance with international law. Terrorism must be rejected as a means for achieving political ends. It is counter-productive to reaching a comprehensive, just and lasting peace settlement. Canada equally condemns all forms of incitement.

Canada has listed Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, and other groups as terrorist organizations in accordance with UN Resolution 1373 (2001) and Canadian legislation. The Government of Canada has no contact with these groups.

United Nations Resolutions on the Middle East

Every year, resolutions addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict are tabled in the United Nations, such as at the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council. Canada assesses each resolution on its merits and consistency with our principles. We support resolutions that are consistent with Canadian policy on the Middle East, are rooted in international law, reflect current dynamics, contribute to the goal of a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, and address fairly and constructively the obligations and responsibilities of all parties to the conflict. Canada advocates a fair-minded approach and rejects one-sided resolutions and any politicization of the issues. Successive Canadian governments have been concerned about the polemical and repetitive nature of many of the numerous resolutions. Canada believes that the United Nations and its member states have a responsibility to contribute constructively to efforts to resolve the Israeli-Arab conflict. Canada will continue to examine carefully each of these resolutions as they come forward.