An Israeli attack helicopter launches flares as he flies over the Israeli Gaza border, southern Israel, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Singh calls for halt on Canadian arms sales to Israel as violence escalates in region

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the federal government to halt arms sales to Israel amid escalating violence in the region.

At a news conference Wednesday, Singh said Canada must apply pressure to ratchet down the spiralling conflict in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank and prevent more guns from deployment in clashes he says breach international law.

“By arming one side of the conflict it is undermining the peace process and it is supporting illegal occupation,” he said during question period later that day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responded by asking all sides toprotect civilians andend the violence, saying rocket attacks against Israel as well as violence at an iconic mosque are “unacceptable.”

“Canada supports Israel’s right to assure its own security,” he said. “Places of worship are for people to gather peacefully and should never be sites of violence.”

On Tuesday, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole put out a statement condemning rocket attacks by Hamas militants as “indiscriminately targeting civilians.”

Government data shows Canada sent $13.7 million in military goods and technology to Israel in 2019, or 0.4 per cent of total arms exports, suggesting an embargo would have limited leverage.

Dozens have died after Palestinian militants launched rockets from Gaza and Israel unleashed new air strikes against them this week, an escalation triggered by soaring tensions in Jerusalem and days of clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque — built on a hilltop site sacred to Jews and Muslims in the holy city.

Singh’s call adds weight to a resolution passed by delegates at the NDP policy convention last month that demanded Canada suspend arms dealing with Israel and freeze trade with Israeli settlements, drawing condemnation from Jewish advocacy groups.

Internal party tensions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have nagged New Democrats over the past few months, but MP Matthew Green says NDP members stand united.

“I think it’s been pretty unanimous,” he said Wednesday in an interview.

“The tension comes from external conflation between what is happening by the (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government … and anti-Semitism.”

Green said dealing arms to countries that abuse human rights is a violation of international law.

“And what we’ve seen in Sheikh Jarrah, the flash bombs in the Al-Aqsa Mosque — I can’t fathom a scenario where a group of people would throw flash bombs into the Vatican.”

He also highlighted concerns around the continued expansion of settlements and evictions — an issue raised by Trudeau on Wednesday as well.

Ahead of the NDP convention, more than 40 NDP riding associations endorsed a particularly contentious resolution that opposed a working definition of anti-Semitism set out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), arguing it is used to chill criticism of Israeli policy.

In response to the would-be resolutions, party members from 17 ridings — including some of those whose electoral district associations are against the IHRA definition — signed a letter sent to NDP riding presidents and obtained by The Canadian Press.

“The NDP policy convention, where at least 99 per cent of attendees will not be Jewish, is neither the time nor the place to debate a resolution that condemns the definition of this pervasive hatred for the Jewish people,” the March 26 letter stated.

The resolution never made it to the virtual floor for a vote.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 65 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Monday, including 16 children, in the most severe outbreak of violence between Israel and the Gaza Strip since a 2014 war.

This round of violence, like previous ones, was fuelled by conflicting claims over Jerusalem, home to major holy sites of Islam, Judaism and Christianity. The rival national and religious narratives of Israelis and Palestinians are rooted in the city, making it the emotional core of their long conflict.

— With a file from The Associated Press

Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

federal government

Just Posted

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

lotto max logo
Are you the lucky winner?

A $1 million ticket was bought in Burns Lake for Friday’s Lotto… Continue reading

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on June 19. A walk around the LDSS track and a draw for the quilt made by Jenny Pirie was organized by Ronda Payne for her friend Barb Wilson. Wilson was diagnosed with ALS in 2016. The draw raised roughly $6,300 from all across Canada, with tickets being bought from as far as Ontario. Burns Lake local won Patti Dube won the draw and the quilt. The money raised will now go to the ALS Society which in turn will be going towards more ALS research and for ALS Societies to provide support to other individuals and families living with this disease. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: Walk to End ALS held in Burns Lake

The 2021 Walk to End ALS took place in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Grad 2021 parade through the village. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)
VIDEO: LDSS graduation 2021 parade in Burns Lake

Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) in Burns Lake had a graduation parade… Continue reading

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki and Minister of Housing David Eby have been battling over the Victory Church shelter and BC Housing projects in the city. (File photos)
Penticton heads to court over homeless shelter as BC Housing audit begins

The city was not satisfied with the response from Minister David Eby regarding the ongoing situation

People enjoy the sun at Woodbine Beach on June 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
BC Hydro assures customers it has ‘more than enough’ power to weather the heatwave

Despite an increase of pressure on the Western grid, blackouts are not expected like in some U.S. states

Air Canada planes sit on the tarmac at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Pilots say no reason to continue quarantines for vaccinated international travellers

Prime minister says Canada still trying to limit number of incoming tourists

Val Litwin is the latest candidate to declare his bid for the B.C. Liberal leadership. (Litwin campaign video)
Political newcomer joins contest for B.C. Liberal leadership

Val Litwin a former B.C. Chamber of Commerce CEO

Golden Ears Mountains, captured in May 2021. (Black Press Media files)
2nd year of day passes required for entry into 5 provincial parks launches in B.C.

Pilot program seeks to protect the environment by addressing visitor surges amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Lincoln Mckoen. (YouTube)
Anglican bishop of the central Interior resigns over sexual misconduct allegations

Lincoln Mckoen was elected as a bishop of the Territory of the People region last year

The former Kamloops Indian Residential School on the Tk’emlups te Secwépemc reserve. (Allen Douglas/Kamloops This Week)
Tk’emlups preparing for archaeological work at B.C. residential school site where remains found

The 215 graves are, to the band’s knowledge, undocumented deaths for which it is still collecting records

Fans watch the warm-up before Game 6 between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens in NHL playoff hockey action Saturday, May 29, 2021 in Montreal. Quebec’s easing of COVID-19 restrictions will allow 2,500 fans to attend the game for the first time in fourteen months. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Two-thirds of Canadians say governments shouldn’t lift all COVID-19 restrictions

Poll reports Canadians who gained pandemic weight say they have gained 16 pounds on average

Most Read