Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
In the spirit of Lester B. Pearson

Ottawa (July 17, 2006) – Speaking today to a gathering of Liberal Party members in Trois Rivières, Liberal Leadership Candidate Bob Rae said that: "All Canadians share a sense of deep loss with the tragic deaths in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza of innocent civilians. This is a time for all of us to express our strongest desire for peace and stability in a part of the world that is dear to Canada and Canadians."

"But we also expect our government to go beyond words. The Canadian government must respond to the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon."

"Canada must live up to the spirit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Lester B Pearson, who used his experience and understanding to defuse a crisis."

"Canada should have used the last 72 hours to make the case for UN peacekeepers on the border between Lebanon and Israel, accompanied by a firm timetable for a ceasefire and disengagement. The G8 proposals provide a good framework."

"The issue is not simply Israel’s right to defend itself – it is how to police a border, how to reduce tension, how to create the preconditions for dialogue. Israel has a right to live in peace within secure, internationally recognized borders. At the moment this clearly requires the presence of peace monitors. Lebanon cannot and will not do it and has called for a UN presence on its soil to assist in this. The UN must respond."

"Canada’s further efforts need to focus on the refusal of both Hezbollah and Hamas to recognize Israel’s right to exist. These radical groups, clearly fuelled by money and other assistance from Iran and Syria, point to the biggest obstacle to peace: an inability to accept Israel as a legitimate country in the region. Ideologies that cannot accept the presence of other people, with different religions, languages, and loyalties, are a profound threat to the peace of the world."