Canadian Jewish Political Affairs Committee
Liberal Leader, Bob Rae, on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

OTTAWA– Liberal Leader Bob Rae made the following statement today on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ decision to pursue a bid for Non-member Observer State status at the United Nations:

“Tomorrow, President Abbas will put forward a resolution to approve Non-member Observer State status for Palestine at the UN General Assembly.

I have spoken directly with President Abbas on several occasions about this move for a unilateral declaration of independence, and again conveyed my thoughts to him through one of his chief negotiators last week.

I very clearly expressed my opposition to this path as a way to resolve the conflict, and I encouraged him to return to the negotiating table. I have expressed the same view to Israeli leadership – that direct negotiations are the only real path to a comprehensive resolution of the Israel-Palestine peace process.

For more than 30 years, I have been actively engaged with both sides of this conflict, and I continue to believe that Canada has a constructive role to play as a bridge builder and mediator in the region. To do so, however, we must be in a position to talk to all parties.

I share the same commitment to the cause of peace as my colleague, Irwin Cotler, who has also been involved in the search for peace in the Middle East for the past three decades. He has been an active participant in the rapprochement dialogues between Israelis and Palestinians, and continues to promote a strong common justice agenda in the region.

The Liberal Party remains committed to a secure and democratic Israel, a stable and democratic Palestinian state and to the ultimate goal of peace in the region. We believe that direct negotiations are the only way to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to build peace in the region.

It is important that in the days to come, both sides approach the issue in the spirit of goodwill, seeking a resolution to the many difficult issues that are before us.”