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Thursday, June 02, 2011

Canada reverses itself?

Last week, Canada 'saved' Israel at the G8 by lobbying hard not to include a reference to Israel retreating to the '1967 lines' as part of the final communique. That was accredited to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is viewed as a friend of Israel. Now, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird seems to be reversing the policy.
Speaking to reporters on Parliament Hill, Mr. Baird backed U.S. President Barack Obama’s call for Israel to either return East Jerusalem to the Palestinians and dismantle settlements in the West Bank or hand over other territory in compensation as part of the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

“We support, obviously, that that solution has to be based on the ’67 border, with mutually agreed upon swaps, as President Obama said,” Mr. Baird said.


Mr. Baird said his statement was not an about-face in Tory policy, but he appeared not to be familiar with Resolution 242, the 1967 UN declaration calling on Israel to pull its troops back.
Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, who has an interest in foreign affairs, demonstrated his knowledge of the issue with a casual reference to 242.

“Go back to President Nixon, Mr. Kissinger, all that, all the efforts, the Madrid process, the Oslo process, all the events, the Annapolis process, more recently the effort that President Obama began. All these efforts since what, 40 years, are based on 242.”
It's not certain that Baird was reversing policy. After all, from reading what Harper actually said, it seems that he objected to including only the reference to the '1967 lines' without including other aspects of Obama's speech.

That may be the policy, but the real question here is why do there need to be 'agreed swaps' at all. Israel gained control of Judea and Samaria (and all of the other territory liberated in the 1967 war) in a defensive action against a war of aggression by three Arab armies attacking simultaneously. No other country in the World would be asked to return land won under such circumstances. And certainly, no other country in the World would be asked to compensate for land that it kept under such circumstances at a one-for-one ratio.

And indeed, until Ehud Olmert came along, no Israeli Prime Minister had ever agreed to a one-for-one 'exchange.' Resolution 242, which calls for the return of 'territories' certainly doesn't call for it, and nearly everyone involved in its drafting agrees that the intention was for Israel to retain at least enough of the land that it liberated to ensure its security.

So even if Baird has correctly stated Canadian policy, is that policy correct?

A one-for-one exchange certainly seems out of place.

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At 3:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It seems like the Tories reversed themselves under criticism at home. Disappointing.

Still what matters is not what G8 or what the world says but what the Jews do.

There is no need for Israel to panic over September.

At 3:29 PM, Blogger Thermblog said...

For the sake of accuracy, Israel attacked first in 1967. This was after Egypt provoked with 5 (according to Victor Davis Hanson) cassus belli.

One of the main reasons Israel was caught flat-footed in 1973 was Golda Meir's sensitivity to the charge that Israel had "started" the previous war.

John Baird is something of a pit bull and enjoys more freedom than most of Harper's cabinet. He might have gone out on his own here.

At 5:51 AM, Blogger mrzee said...

It isn't like Harper to reverse himself on this issue because of criticism. Thermblog is probably right about Baird, although as the owner of three pit bulls, I don't particularly like the analogy. They're quite friendly if raised properly.


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