Mar 6, 2004 2:35 pm


The House of Commons, February 17-19, 2004 Mr. Pat O'Brien (London-Fanshawe, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I recognize that Israel is within its rights to construct a security barrier on its own territory. However, the Sharon government is constructing the provocative security wall on territories occupied by Israel in direct and deliberate contravention of international law. Again today, I join my voice to that chorus of voices, including many Israeli citizens and security experts, who are demanding that the Sharon government stop its unilateral and counter-productive action. This wall denies basic human rights to the Palestinian people and further reduces the West Bank and the Gaza Strip to the status of concentration camps. The deplorable impact on the daily lives of Palestinians is unconscionable. The Government of Canada must not just speak against this atrocity, it must take concrete action to impress on the Sharon government our grave concerns. It is neither anti-Israel nor anti-Semitic to criticize the inflammatory actions of the Sharon government. Like most Canadians, my hope is that Israel and its Arab neighbours will agree to coexist peacefully and build bridges of justice, not walls of desperation. --------------------------------------------------------------- RESPONSES TO MR. PAT O'BRIEN’S STATEMENT: Hon. Art Eggleton (York Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I rise to respond to yesterday's statement by the member for London-Fanshawe condemning Israel for the construction of a security fence. We have to remember the realities that force Israel to build this protective barrier. Israel is targeted by an unprecedented campaign of terror that to date involves 136 suicide bombings, resulting in 925 fatalities and more than 6,100 people injured. The Palestinian authority chooses not to stop this strategy of terror. This context is missing from the member's statement. Moreover, the member's reference to concentration camps in the West Bank and Gaza is unacceptable. It makes a mockery out of the Holocaust. Though not a measure of choice, the security fence is a measure of necessity. Where built to date, the presence of the fence has resulted in a 30% drop in suicide attacks. This is not a land grab, it is a temporary security measure that could be undone once the Palestinian leadership lives up to its responsibilities. Simply put, no terror, no fence. --------------------------------------------------------------- James Lunney (NanaimoAlberni, Cons.) Mr. Speaker, Tuesday, the Member from London-Fanshawe made a statement in this house. I was shocked by the insensitive and inflammatory remarks about the security wall being constructed in Israel. Mr. Speaker, I am certain most Israelis would agree to dismantle that wall in a heartbeat if the reign and carnage inflicted on its citizens was halted. The sad reality, Mr. Speaker: the Palestinian leadership has shown no will, no ability to stop suicide bombers or to prevent the glorification of those who perpetrate such vile acts of martyrs and as heroes. Israel has a primary responsibility, like any nation, to protect the person and security of its citizens. To use accusatory and inflammatory words to characterize Israel's defence is to display gross ignorance of the geopolitical realities and the history of this troubled region. Mr. Speaker, people who live in a relative peace and security should not be quick to judge those who live in constant peril and with terror. To accuse Israelis of constructing concentration camps is a cruel and unwarranted slur against all Jewish people and the memory of millions who perished in what remains the world's most infamous genocide. --------------------------------------------------------------- Ms. Anita Neville (Winnipeg South Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I too want to speak today to the misleading statement of the member for London­Fanshawe which depicted the Israeli security barrier as a provocative measure against the Palestinian people. Canadians should remember that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a dispute between two peoples with a legitimate claim to the same land where the Palestinians remain unwilling to abandon the strategy of terror and accept Israel's right to exist. Without a peace partner Israel is forced to protect its people unilaterally. In the past three and a half years Israel has intercepted 313 attempted homicide bombers. Nonetheless more than 130 others were able to maim and kill innocent Israeli civilians. It is unfortunate that Israel has to contemplate this barrier, however a similar security perimeter has stopped all suicide attacks from the Gaza Strip. The Canadian government correctly objected to the politicization of the barrier in the International Court of Justice. The Israeli government continues to make every effort to minimize the barrier's impact on Palestinians. However a tide of suicide bombers continues. Israel does not have a choice. --------------------------------------------------------------- Mr. John Cannis (Scarborough Centre, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I would ask the Minister of Foreign Affairs to comment on the most recent homicide bombings that recently occurred in Israel and other parts of the world, which specifically target civilians. I am a personal friend of the brother of Yechezkel Goldberg, the Canadian-Israeli victim of the most recent atrocity by a Palestinian terrorist group, this is now much closer to home. I have as a result come to appreciate a whole new dimension to the human cost of terrorism. Homicide bombs are a crime against humanity and those who encourage these acts must be held accountable. --------------------------------------------------------------- Hon. Bill Graham (Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, the House will recall that after the tragic death of Dr. Goldberg we united together in the House to condemn the terrorist attack and to regret his tragic death. I also want to thank the hon. member for his question because the question clearly illustrates that members of the House want to make it clear to everyone in the international community that we in Canada condemn acts of terrorism. We recognize that this terrible violence and the tragic death of Dr. Goldberg was destined and designed not only to kill an innocent individual, but to destroy the chances of peace in the Middle East which we work for. We urge all parties as a testimony for this to work for peace in the Middle East.

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