Peace Congress welcomes China’s initiative on Palestine, calls for Canada to end arms shipments to Israel

PV staff  

The Canadian Peace Congress says China’s initiative on Palestine – for an immediate ceasefire and renewed talks to quickly create a viable Palestinian state – are welcome and reflective of the demands of the global peace movement. But the Congress adds that countries like Canada, the US and the EU must stop feigning concern for the people of Palestine while continuing to support Israel.

In response to Israel’s genocidal siege of Gaza, the Chinese government has repeatedly called for a ceasefire, but has also observed that “the root cause of this question is the long delay in realizing the dream of an independent State of Palestine and the failure to redress the historical injustice suffered by the Palestinian people.”

Flowing from this, China has recently called for a “large scale peace conference to discuss the implementation of the two-state solution,” insisting that restarting talks for peace between Palestine and Israel on the basis of a viable Palestinian state is “the only realistic way to break the vicious cycle of the conflict.”

The Peace Congress notes that China has been increasingly active in promoting peace and dialogue in West Asia, rather than war and aggression. In March 2023 Beijing facilitated détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and it May 2023 it helped bring Syria back into the Arab League, noting that as “the shadow of the US shrinks, the light of peace spreads.”

China’s efforts to bring peace and justice to Palestine date back many years and include repeated for Israel to stop its aggression and to recognize the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people.

However, Israel is Western imperialism’s most important outpost in West Asia and, as such, continues to receive direct support from the US, EU and Canada. Project Ploughshares calculates that Canada exported more than $21 million in military equipment to Israel in 2022, and Global Affairs Canada admitted last month that it has approved military exports to Israel since the siege of Gaza began.

Beyond arms, support to Israel also includes diplomatic cover. Examples of this are the constant insistence by Western governments and media that “Israel has a right to defend itself” and the repeated claim that the siege of Gaza is not against Palestinians but against Hamas.

In actual fact, Israel’s actions are clearly designed to kill, injure and displace Palestinians – they are genocidal. As the Peace Congress grimly notes, “We clearly see the horrific genocide taking place on a daily basis. The far-right Netanyahu government has repeatedly declared its objective to destroy Palestine and smash any hope of a Palestinian state. The extension of apartheid Israel ‘from the river to the sea’ is but the first stage in creating a ‘greater Israel.’ The planned annexation of all remaining Palestinian lands in Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem is a direct effort to drive Palestinians out of their land.”

Furthermore, international law does not recognize that occupying powers like Israel have the “right to defend themselves” as claimed by countries like Canada and the US; rather, it is the people who are suffering an illegal occupation who have the right to resist.

Peace Congress President Larry Wasslen noted to People’s Voice that, “while Canada and other Western governments gush with fake concern for civilians being killed by Israel, it is China – with its long history of promoting diplomacy in international relations – which has once again stepped forward with a serious proposal to help achieve a durable peace in the region.”

Wasslen observes that China’s proposal is in line with those of the World Peace Council and its affiliates, including the Canadian Peace Congress, as well as many other peace organizations and governments worldwide.

“We welcome this important initiative of China, which is consistent with our longstanding support for the creation of a viable Palestinian state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital,” he said. “Of course, this requires an immediate and permanent ceasefire to end the genocide, as well as dismantling Israeli settlements in the West Bank, guaranteeing the right of return for Palestinian refugees dating from 1948, and Israel’s release of all Palestinian political prisoners from arbitrary detention.”

The Peace Congress is demanding that Canada immediately implement an arms embargo on Israel and end its military and diplomatic support.

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