Gaza Conflict: Canadian man wants Harper charged with inciting genocide
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” – Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
A Newfoundland man blames Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the alleged war crimes currently being committed against Palestinians during Israel’s ongoing assault on Gaza. Andrew Abbass says Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird should be charged with inciting genocide under Canada’s Criminal Code.
“Stephen Harper is advocating the destruction of an identifiable group and therefore should be charged with creating and disseminating hate propaganda under the Criminal Code,” Abbass writes in a petition posted on Change.org.
At least 800 Palestinians have been killed since Israel’s full-scale military operation, code-named Operation Protective Edge, started on July 8.
Via Democracy Now!:
The United Nations says at least 75 percent of the dead are civilians, including an estimated 168 children. In the last two days, Palestinian children have been killed at a rate of one per hour. More than 4,500 Palestinians have been wounded, and more than 150,000 have been displaced. Israel’s recent targets have included an apartment building where 19 children from one family were killed, mosques, a hospital and Gaza’s sole power plant. The United Nations says that a school for girls has been hit for the second time in three days.
“Gaza officials said more than 3,000 homes had been destroyed or damaged and 46 schools, 56 mosques and seven hospitals had been hit,” reports The Guardian.
Earlier today, at least 15 Palestinians were killed after Israel bombed a school run by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) in Beit Hanun.
Amnesty International has spoken out against these atrocities. This week, the group said Israel’s attacks on medical facilities and civilians “add to the possible list of war crimes that demand an urgent independent international investigation.”
For a glimpse into the mind of the perpetrators of these atrocities, consider the Israeli Defense Forces’ claims week, after they executed four Palestinian boys who were playing on the beach. The boys likely been misidentified as a “legitimate” Hamas target, the IDF claimed.
According to Chris Hedges, Ayelet Shaked, a member of the right-wing Jewish Home Party, recently republished on her Facebook Page an article written 12 years ago by Uri Elitzur, a onetime Netanyahu advisor. The part she published on June 30 said:
They [the Palestinians] are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.
Two days ago, the Israeli Ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, said the Israeli army deserved the Nobel Peace Prize.
Harper, Baird and the leaders of the 3rd-placed Liberal Party of Canada and Official Opposition New Democrats all support Israel and its policies. Since the current war started, they have blamed Hamas for the genocidal atrocities. They have relentlessly regurgitated the tired mantra about Israel’s right to exists and defend itself. However, in their latest public statements, the opposition parties say they support a ceasefire.
Harper, on the other hand, remains uncompromising in his stance.
“Canada is unequivocally behind Israel,” he said in a recent statement. “We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians.”
In Ottawa on Tuesday, hundreds of pro-Palestine supporters denounced Harper’s uncompromising position. They demanded an immediate end to Canada’s complicity in Israel’s genocidal massacres. The protest echoed the world’s moral majority.
Since the military operation begun, Palestinians and their supporters around the world have been calling for Israel to be held up to international scrutiny. The international community responded Wednesday with a United Nations emergency meeting in Geneva, where the UN Human Rights Council resolved to launch a commission of inquiry into the alleged Israeli war crimes.
“There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,” said Navi Pillay, the UN high commissioner for human rights, before the meeting.
According to The Guardian, Pillay further explained that Israel “had not done enough to protect civilians, citing air strikes and the shelling of homes and hospitals.” She also called on Israel to lift its blockade of Gaza, which is at the core of the conflict.
With a vote of 29 to 1, the UN Human Rights Council resolution passed. The countries that voted in the YES include Russia, China, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, India, most of Latin America and Africa. It appears Canada boycotted the meeting altogether. Canada was not on the list of the 17 abstentions, which include most of the European nations. The US cast the lone NO vote.
Abbass’s main contention is the video below, recently published by the Conservative Party of Canada. The video’s title “Through Fire and Water,” derives from a speech Harper made earlier this year in Israel when he told the Israelis that “through fire and water, Canada will stand with you.”
Abbass’ Change.org petition declares in part:
This video is hate propaganda published by the Conservative Party of Canada.
Sections 318, 319, and 320 of the Criminal Code of Canada forbid hate propaganda. “Hate propaganda” means “any writing, sign or visible representation that advocates or promotes genocide or the communication of which by any person would constitute an offence under section 319.”
Section 318 prescribes imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years for anyone who advocates genocide. The Code defines genocide as the destruction of an “identifiable group.” The Code defines an “identifiable group” as “any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, ethnic origin or sexual orientation.”
By choosing to side with one religious state (Israel) and declaring Hamas to be terrorists that need to be destroyed at the expense of civilian lives, Stephen Harper is advocating the destruction of an identifiable group and therefore should be charged with creating and disseminating hate propaganda under the Criminal Code and imprisoned alongside John Baird.
Abbass’ petition is accompanied by a request to the RCMP to “arrest Stephen Harper and John Baird for creation of Hate Propaganda and promotion of Genocide under Canadian Criminal Code Sections 318 and 319.”
It’s unlikely that the RCMP will grant Abbass his wish. However, Abbass’ petition is speaks to a conversation we ought to engage in right now and right through to the 2015 federal election. Whose interest is Harper serving by maintaining a counter-productive pro-Israel stance? By supporting Israel and its atrocities, while failing to humanize the real victims in this conflict, Palestinians, is Harper really protecting Canada’s values and interests on the world stage?
Recent events seem to suggest that Harper’s position is motivated mostly by personal gain. In 2012, Harper was awarded a dubious “World Statesman of the Year” award by the Appeal of Conscience Foundation, a New York organization founded by Rabbi Arthur Schneier in 1965. Early this year, Tel Aviv University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Philosophy to honour his “exemplary conduct as a prominent world leader who promotes freedom, human rights and the rule of law.” Also early this year, Harper became the first-ever Canadian leader to address the Israeli Knesset.
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