Israel has a right to defend itself and Canada supports it

Published on July 29, 2014

I would like to respond to comments made by John Molgaard of St. John’s on behalf of Solidarity With Palestine in the Saturday, July 26 edition of The Telegram.

Molgaard was commenting on the recent escalation in the Israel-Gaza Conflict since May 2014.

On June 12, three Israeli teenagers were kidnapped in the West Bank and murdered. The Israel Defense Force initiated Operation Brother’s Keeper, a large security operation in the West Bank in search of the three teenagers.

On June 15, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the teens had been kidnapped by Hamas, which Hamas denied.

On June 26, the Israel Security Agency identified two Hamas members as key suspects in the kidnapping.

On the night of July 6, an Israeli strike killed seven Hamas militants.

By July 7, Hamas militants had fired 100 rockets from Gaza at Israeli territory and the Israeli Air Force had bombed several sites in Gaza.

On July 8, Hamas declared that “all Israelis” had become “legitimate targets.”

The Harper government has taken leadership in the Israel-Gaza conflict condemning the terrorist group Hamas and rallying the international community to support Israel.

On July 13, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stated: “the indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification.”

Harper also said he urges the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said July 24 on a U.S. Conservative talk radio show heard by seven million to eight million people that: “Israel has a duty to defend itself; Hamas is a terrorist organization; the conflict is with Hamas, not the Palestinian people; and there can be no moral equivalency in the face of terrorism, the great struggle of our generation.”

Baird also said: “there’s a significant left-wing media bias, an anti-Israel bias, in a lot of the Canadian media.”

It is also worth noting that in Hamas’s charter one of its goals is to wipe Israel off the face of the map.

Back in January 2014, American actress Scarlett Johansson announced she was resigning as Oxfam International’s Global Ambassador in order to serve as a spokeswoman for Sodastream, a company operating in the West Bank against Oxfam’s position which opposes trade involving Israeli settlements.

One could argue that with the constant violence between Israel and Palestine, and the statements of Palestine against the recognition of a Jewish state, that a Sodastream factory in the West Bank’s Mishor Adumim settlement which has employed 500 Palestinians from the West Bank and East Jerusalem — 450 Arab Israelis and 350 Jewish Israelis — is a positive and hopeful sign of how economic co-operation can be done.

Johansson was right to support Israel and draw attention to economic co-operation between the groups. I personally am proud of the work Johansson did with Oxfam advocating for girls, food security and humans rights all over the world.

Canada should also be open to reviewing its aid money to Palestine if Hamas is given a notable amount of authority in Palestine’s unity government in the future.

Canadians should support Israel and make their views known by writing their local member of Parliament.

Kirk Quilty

Corner Brook