I’d like to make clear my position on Canada’s relationship with Israel. Israel is a democracy. Israel has an absolute right to exist. Israelis have an absolute right to live in peace and security. Canada would never accept having rockets fired at its civilian population – and neither should Israel.
Getting the parties back to the negotiating table in the pursuit of peace must be the priority of all those who are true friends of both Israel and the Palestinian people. I hope that the next Israeli government, to be elected later this month, will recommit itself toward accomplishing that goal. By putting itself forward as one of Israel’s best friends in the world, Canada has been well positioned to speak frankly about the settlement question in particular. Now is not the time to try to change current Canadian policy, which dates back more than 10 years. Canada’s Middle East policy must not be used for partisan political gain, and must bring all Canadians together to press forward beneath the banners of peace.