Canada abstains from vote for Palestinian membership in the UN

Canada abstains from vote for Palestinian membership in the UN
Canada abstains from vote for Palestinian membership in the UN

Unlike 143 countries around the world, Canada did not support a proposal Friday to include Palestine in the United Nations (UN), even though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week he was in favor of a Palestinian state.

The Canadian delegation chose to abstain before the General Assembly, when taking a position on a non-binding resolution proposing to affirm that Palestine deserves to become a full member of the international organization. The text was still adopted by a large majority, with 9 refusals and 24 other abstentions than Canada.

Earlier this week, however, the Prime Minister of Canada defended Zionist ideology in front of members of the Jewish community in Ottawa, but added that he believes in “the creation of a Palestinian state cohabiting in peace with Israel”, which is called the “two-state solution”.

In a statement of more than 800 words released Friday, Global Affairs Canada extensively supported its abstention, which it justified as a response “to the efforts deployed to prevent the establishment of a two-state solution.”

His position is presented at the same time as opposition to the Netanyahu government in Israel, “which has clearly indicated […] that he rejected the two-state solution”, that like the rejection of Hamas, ” [qui] still controls areas of Gaza – an essential part of the territory of the future Palestinian state.”

“ [Le Hamas] continues to hold hostages and has still not laid down its arms or renounced its violent opposition to the existence of Israel. The entire Palestinian population deserves to be led by a legitimate and representative government, which cannot include the participation of a terrorist organization,” we read in the press release from Canadian diplomacy.

Ready for recognition

At home, the Advisory Center for Jewish and Israeli Relations (CIJA) celebrated Canada’s abstention before the UN, seeing it as a continuity in the Canadian position, that is to say, to only recognize the Palestinian state through a negotiation process with Israel.

“Adoption of this motion endangers the ultimate goal of a peaceful two-state solution, and sets a dangerous precedent,” the organization wrote on its social networks.

In fact, the Government of Canada qualifies this interpretation by saying it is ready to recognize Palestine before the final stage of a negotiated agreement. “Canada is prepared to recognize the State of Palestine at the most favorable time for the establishment of lasting peace, not necessarily at the final stage of the process,” we read.

In the entourage of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mélanie Joly, it is specified that this means that Canada is willing to deviate from its traditional position, alongside that of Israel, but on the condition that the Hamas group is not found more in the portrait.

“This is a fundamental change in Canada’s approach,” confirmed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, visiting British Columbia on Friday.

“We are in the process of abstaining at the United Nations, this is an important step for Canada. [… ] Even if in the past it was said that the recognition of a Palestinian state can only come at the end of a process [vers la solution à] two states, we recognize that perhaps it will have to be done at another stage,” explained the head of the Canadian government.

Hamas is recognized as a terrorist entity in Canada. After some initial procrastination, last December Canada supported the demand for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, while demanding the immediate release of hostages held by Hamas.

Despite Friday’s vote in the General Assembly, Palestine cannot be recognized as a country before the UN without the agreement of the Security Council, which is blocked by the United States.

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