The political dust is settling. George Bush has won a clear mandate for another four years in the White House. Yasir Arafat has departed this world.

Now, goaded by Britain’s Tony Blair, Bush has proclaimed that settling the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will be a priority during his second term.

Everyone is sensing some sort of opportunity – although nobody is sure what kind of opportunity – in the power vacuum left by Arafat. Various interested parties are jumping on board the peace train.

The latest comer is Canada’s Prime Minister Paul Martin, himself recently elected although not with the clear majority accorded his American counterpart.

But is Canada’s involvement in any peace process really in Israel’s best interests?

Although Canada claims to be a friend of Israel, an examination of Canada’s actions both internationally and domestically should raise a few eyebrows and generate some hard questions.

Let’s begin with the United Nations. Here Israel’s friend, Canada, has voted against Israel 78 times, abstained 38 times, and voted in support of Israel, by its own admission, only once – although a phone call to Israel’s UN delegation in New York was unable to confirm even that.

In spite of evidence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are on UNRWA’s payroll and have taken full advantage of UNRWA funds and facilities to further their own unholy agenda, Canada continues to contribute $10 million annually to UNRWA.

When asked directly whether he can state categorically that Canadian dollars are not being used to finance terror attacks against Israelis, a spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs was unable to do so.

Canada has also given a quarter of a billion dollars to the Palestinian Authority, a goodly percentage of which, no doubt, has been used to subsidize Suha Arafat’s opulent Paris lifestyle; or perhaps found its way into the coffers of the terror networks.

Yet, when pressured, Foreign Affairs refuses not only to produce an accounting of how its funds are being used, but also to demand an accounting from UNRWA and the PA.

While mouthing platitudes about Israel’s right to defend itself, Canada has managed to condemn just about everything Israel does in its own defense.

Canada condemned the targeted killings of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdel-Aziz Rantisi. Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Pierre Pettigrew condemned Israel’s security barrier, even though it has significantly reduced terror attacks where it has been completed.

Canada also failed to support Israel at the UN when a resolution was tabled demanding that Israel dismantle the fence in accordance with the ruling of the International Court of Justice. Canada has come out in favor of the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees, with the disclaimer that Palestinians may return only if they are willing to live in peace.

Such a specious position is as ludicrous as it is unenforceable.

On the domestic side, when Concordia University in Montreal, cowed by threats of violence from Arab students and their supporters, refused permission to a former prime minister of Israel to speak at the university, Premier Martin said nothing.

Martin’s deafening silence continued when Mohammed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, reportedly said recently that all Israelis over the age of 18 are legitimate targets for Palestinian terror, a statement that clearly violates Canada’s hate laws.

Martin appointed Yvon Charbonneau, a member of parliament from Montreal, to the post of Canadian ambassador to UNESCO in spite of Charbonneau’s long and well-documented history of anti-Israel pronouncements. He has so far refused to recall Charbonneau in spite of an outcry from his constituents.

Canada’s porous refugee and immigration laws have allowed PFLP terrorist Mahmoud Mohammed Issa Mohammed, convicted in the hijacking of an EL AL plane and subsequent killing of one person at Athens Airport in 1968, to live comfortably in Brantford, Ontario, while enjoying refugee status.

More recently Martin lauded Yasir Arafat, on hearing of his death, as “personifying the Palestinian people’s struggle” and offered “on behalf of Canada condolences and sympathy to the family of chairman Arafat, as well as to all Palestinians.”

Martin even dispatched his foreign affairs minister to attend Arafat’s funeral, a greater honor than was accorded former president Ronald Reagan on the recent occasion of his death.

By such words and actions, Martin has legitimized terrorism and dishonored both himself and his country.

Canada hasn’t conducted itself as an honest broker. It has attempted to equate the struggle of a fellow democracy to defend itself with the efforts of a terrorist regime to destroy its neighbor.

Canada has not earned the privilege of participating in any peace negotiations involving Israel, and Israelis should think long and hard before welcoming Canada to the negotiating table.

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