“We urge [all churches] to say no to injustice of any illegal political move and building for a future of equality on this land between all the peoples.” Kairos Palestine statement regarding annexation plans.
In these challenging times of COVID-19, we must continue to speak into ongoing and systemic issues of justice and human dignity. In Palestine and Israel, on top of the debilitating challenges of the pandemic, the new Israeli unity government has promised to move forward with plans to annex significant parts of the Occupied Palestinian territories, with a vote in the Knesset as early as July 1, 2020. Annexation is not only a clear violation of International Law concerning forced annexation, of which Canada is a party, but it puts the prospects of a just and sustainable peace in even greater jeopardy. MCC’s partners in Palestine and Israel have reached out and asked for support from Canadian churches and our government.
The Canadian government has essentially remained silent on Israel’s annexation plans with the exception of a few vague statements of concern, lacking a formal condemnation or promise of future actions. This is in direct contrast to Canada’s outspoken and clear message on Russia’s annexation of Crimea, including in a statement from the Foreign Affairs Minister on the 6th anniversary of this annexation on March 16, 2020. Canada’s silence is also in stark contrast to the European Union’s clear position regarding Israel’s proposed annexation.
On May 15, 2020, a coalition of Canadian national church denominations and church-based agencies, including MCC, sent a joint letter to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs raising these concerns.
On June 23rd, 2020 MCC joined Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), Independent Jewish Voices (IJV), the United Church of Canada (UCC), the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC), and several regional Mennonite Church Canada working groups, calling for Canadian Members of Parliament to sign a pledge publicly declaring their opposition to the Israeli government's annexation plans, stating:
As a Member of Parliament, I understand that Canada has a responsibility to stand up for international law and human rights. For this reason, the Canadian government must show meaningful opposition to the annexation plans recently announced by Israeli leaders. I call on the Canadian government to consider all reasonable diplomatic and economic options to stop annexation and prompt Israeli compliance with international law.
This pledge is not “for” or “against” any political ideology or party, but rather a pledge in support of international law, and peace, justice and human development in Palestine and Israel.
Our choices define us as people and nations. It is our prayer that Canada will choose to be a nation that does not remain silent in the face of illegal actions but will work alongside other nations to uphold international law and human dignity.
What can you do?
Use CJPME's tool to write to your MP, calling them to sign the pledge.
Share your concerns on social media, as well as with your friends, family, neighbours & church: Share the joint ecumenical letter; the MP Pledge, and share articles from credible sources – here are two suggestions, from CBC (Evan Dyer) and the Conversation (Michael Lynk).
Use the Hashtags #StopAnnexation & #cdnpoli
Don’t forget to tag your MP, the Minister of Foreign Affairs (@FPChampagne) & the Prime Minister (@JustinTrudeau). Plus please feel free to tag MCC Ottawa (@MCCOttawa)!
Stay informed: Check out Kumi Now, a campaign by MCC partner Sabeel, connecting you to local activists and advocates working non-violently for a just peace in Palestine and Israel.