Legal Threat Looms Over Canada’s Military Trade With Israel

A coalition of Canadian and Palestinian human rights groups has warned the Canadian government to stop exporting military goods and technology to Israel, or face a legal challenge. The coalition, which includes Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR), Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Man, Ayman Oweida and a confidential Palestinian asylum seeker, sent a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on January 28, 2024, demanding that Canada comply with its own laws and international obligations.

The coalition argues that Canada’s Export and Import Permits Act prohibits the issuance of export permits for military goods and technology to countries where there is a substantial risk that they could be used to commit serious violations of international law and serious acts of violence against women and children. The coalition cites ample evidence that Israel has committed and continues to commit such violations and acts in its military operations in Gaza and the West Bank, including the crime of genocide.

The Government’s Response

The Canadian government has not yet responded to the coalition’s letter, but it has previously defended its military trade with Israel as consistent with its policies and values. Canada maintains that Israel has a right to defend itself against the attacks by Hamas and other militant groups, and that Canada supports Israel’s security and stability. Canada also claims that it has a rigorous and transparent process for reviewing and approving export permits, and that it monitors the end-use of its military exports.

However, the coalition challenges the government’s assertions, and accuses it of turning a blind eye to the human rights violations and international crimes committed by Israel with the help of Canadian military goods and technology. The coalition points out that Canada has exported more than $20 million worth of military goods and technology to Israel in 2022, making it the third-highest year for such exports on record. The coalition also notes that Canada has failed to provide any information or assurances that its military exports are not being used against civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or in airstrikes on Gaza.

The Legal Implications

The coalition has given the government 14 days to confirm that it has halted all military exports to Israel, failing which the coalition will consider its legal options. The coalition warns that, by issuing export permits for military goods and technology to Israel, Canada is violating both Canadian and international law, and may be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The coalition also reminds the government that Canada has a duty to prevent and punish genocide, and to ensure accountability for the perpetrators.

The coalition’s legal threat adds to the growing pressure on Canada to reconsider its military trade with Israel, which has been criticized by many civil society groups, parliamentarians, and experts. The coalition hopes that its letter will prompt the government to act in accordance with the law and morality, and to stop arming apartheid.

Category: Politics

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Legal Threat Looms Over Canada’s Military Trade With Israel

The Coalition’s Demand

A coalition of Canadian and Palestinian human rights groups has warned the Canadian government to stop exporting military goods and technology to Israel, or face a legal challenge. The coalition, which includes Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR), Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Man, Ayman Oweida and a confidential Palestinian asylum seeker, sent a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly on January 28, 2024, demanding that Canada comply with its own laws and international obligations.

The coalition argues that Canada’s Export and Import Permits Act prohibits the issuance of export permits for military goods and technology to countries where there is a substantial risk that they could be used to commit serious violations of international law and serious acts of violence against women and children. The coalition cites ample evidence that Israel has committed and continues to commit such violations and acts in its military operations in Gaza and the West Bank, including the crime of genocide.

The Government’s Response

The Canadian government has not yet responded to the coalition’s letter, but it has previously defended its military trade with Israel as consistent with its policies and values. Canada maintains that Israel has a right to defend itself against the attacks by Hamas and other militant groups, and that Canada supports Israel’s security and stability. Canada also claims that it has a rigorous and transparent process for reviewing and approving export permits, and that it monitors the end-use of its military exports.

However, the coalition challenges the government’s assertions, and accuses it of turning a blind eye to the human rights violations and international crimes committed by Israel with the help of Canadian military goods and technology. The coalition points out that Canada has exported more than $20 million worth of military goods and technology to Israel in 2022, making it the third-highest year for such exports on record. The coalition also notes that Canada has failed to provide any information or assurances that its military exports are not being used against civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) or in airstrikes on Gaza.

The Legal Implications

The coalition has given the government 14 days to confirm that it has halted all military exports to Israel, failing which the coalition will consider its legal options. The coalition warns that, by issuing export permits for military goods and technology to Israel, Canada is violating both Canadian and international law, and may be complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity. The coalition also reminds the government that Canada has a duty to prevent and punish genocide, and to ensure accountability for the perpetrators.

The coalition’s legal threat adds to the growing pressure on Canada to reconsider its military trade with Israel, which has been criticized by many civil society groups, parliamentarians, and experts. The coalition hopes that its letter will prompt the government to act in accordance with the law and morality, and to stop arming apartheid.

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