People from all walks of life, Jews, Christians, Muslims and other faiths, joined together to send the message “Hands Off Al Quds/Jerusalem.” Their message is that USA decision to name Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to relocate the US embassy has innumerable serious consequences.
This emergency rally was one among a number happening across Canada including in Montreal, Ottawa, London, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. All around the world, citizens are coming together in front of US diplomatic office to speak out against Trump’s unilateral and illegal recognition of Jerusalem.
Trump administration’s plans run counter to longstanding international consensus. It is a major violation of many United Nations Security Council resolutions and the principles of international law, which consider all Israeli actions and laws aimed at changing the legal and historical status of East Jerusalem null and void. These resolutions ban the establishment of diplomatic missions, the transfer of embassies or the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
These resolutions consider East Jerusalem as an integral part of the Palestinian territory occupied in 1967. Any recognition of the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the occupying power, the establishment of any diplomatic mission in Jerusalem or its transfer to the city is a violation of International law and the Fourth Geneva Convention .
On November 30, 2017, the UN General Assembly voted overwhelmingly that “any actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem are illegal and therefore null and void and have no validity whatsoever.” The rally is important said organizers not only because of the Trump Administration decision, but because, Canada was one of just six countries that voted against this resolution on Jerusalem.
Canadians have clearly spoken that the Canadian government is out of line with public opinion when it comes to Palestine. In a March 2017 EKOS poll, Canadians indicated they believe overwhelmingly that sanctions are a reasonable way for Canada to censure countries violating international law and human rights, and a strong majority of Canadians believe that government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable.
The message is that the Canadian government’s decision not to follow the US example is not enough. Canada has an obligation to condemn the actions of the US government based on Article 1 of the Geneva Convention which requires that Canada “ensure compliance” with the Geneva Convention by other High Contracting Parties.” This makes it essential that the Canadian government issue a clear statement condemning the action of the US government, and to publicly and diplomatically oppose all foreign embassies in Jerusalem.
Speakers were from the Palestinian and Arab communities, the United Church of Canada, the Muslim community, the Jewish community, labour, the Canadian Federation of Students (Ontario), the Christian Peacemaker Teams, Solidarity Against Fascism Everywhere, Canadian Peace Congress, and others who stand for justice and international law. Over 40 groups endorsed today’s emergency action to speak against the move for Israel-exclusive Jerusalem, and for a universal city where all are welcome.