Anti-Palestinian votes at UN

Canada has repeatedly isolated itself from world opinion on Palestinian rights and Israeli belligerence. On a host of UN resolutions the Stephen Harper government sided with Israel against almost all of the world. The Harper government abstained on a number of near unanimous votes asking Israel to place its nuclear weapons program under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) controls and Canada was one of three countries that opposed an IAEA probe of Israel’s nuclear facilities as part of an Arab led effort to create a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.

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The Justin Trudeau has also voted against numerous resolutions upholding Palestinian rights. At the end of 2016 Canada joined the US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing a UN Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee resolution in support of Palestinian self determination. Weeks earlier Ottawa joined Israel, the US, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau in opposing motions titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” and “persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities.” One hundred and fifty-six countries voted in favour of the motions while seven abstained on the first and six on the second.

While Ottawa’s position shifted during the Jean Chretien government, a number of studies in the 1980s found Canada to be among Israel’s best friends at the UN. In July 1980 Canada voted with the US and Israel (nine European countries abstained) against a resolution calling on Israel to withdraw completely and unconditionally from all Palestinian and Arab territories occupied since 1967. Six months thereafter Canada joined Australia and the US in opposition to a resolution that mentioned “the arming of settlers … to commit acts of violence against Arab civilians, mass arrests, and collective punishment.” On December 11, 1982 the Globe and Mail reported that the “United Nations General Assembly called yesterday for the creation of an independent Palestinian state and for Israel’s unconditional withdrawal from territories it occupied in 1967. Israel, Canada, the United States and Costa Rica cast the only negative votes as the assembly passed the appeal by 113 votes to 4, with 23 abstentions.” Six months later a Globe and Mail article referred to “Canada’s position as Israel’s No. 2 friend at the UN.”