***image2***On the 12th of November Canpalnet (the Canada-Palestine Support Network) organized a Forum against the Apartheid Wall in Vancouver, Canada.
The strategy meeting was set up in solidarity with the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign and aimed at discussing ways to build up popular strength to compel the Canadian government to implement the ICJ decision and to abide to its legal obligation to make sure Israel tears down the Apartheid Wall and respects international law. The great attendance and the participation of many different groups showed the need and the will of Canadian activists to strengthen their struggle and impact on national scale.
As the conference was held following an emergency vigil against the ongoing massacre in Falluja perpetrated by the U.S. occupation forces, speakers were bound to highlight the important role of the solidarity movement with Palestine inside the general anti-war movement. It has been an important backbone and still needs to be central to the mobilizations to stop the Occupations in the Middle East.
The speakers put the construction of the Wall in the context of Israeli Apartheid, ongoing ethnic cleansing and expulsion since 1948, and the latest statements by the U.S. administration in favour of a Palestinian state.
Derek OâKeefe (from the Canadian Stop the War Coalition) noted that professions declaring âI am for a Palestinian state,â in the face of the continuing construction of settlements and the growth of the Apartheid Wall are not an indicator of the support of Palestinian rights any more. Rather, in mainstream political discourse, such declarations only too often follow the Israeli understanding that simple annexation of the West Bank and Gaza with its Palestinian population would jeopardise the principle of a âJewish stateâ.
Linda Bevis (an activist in Seattle, U.S.) illustrated not only the significance of the ICJ decision but also the reality created by the Apartheid Wall on the ground. As only one example of the Apartheid regime, Bevis said that Jewish settlers are living under different laws than the indigenous Palestinian population that suffers martial law. She further highlighted how the estimated total costs of the Apartheid Wallâs construction equal one yearâs U.S. subsidies to Israel.
The position of the political parties in Canada were highlighted, as well as the necessity to counter strong Zionist pressure on the political elite and longstanding political positions in favour of Israel and against the application of international law in this case. Erica Lamacraft (from Canpalnet) highlighted the fact that it was not even in refusing to take a stand for Palestinians, but simply in failing to respect the law they are bound to abide by, that the Canadian government was failing.
As in many other countries, the people of Canada show clearly more support for the Palestinian people and their claims. According to latest polls, only a minority of Canadians see Israel as a democracy. âThe people of this country do not have political representation on this issueâ was Erica Lamacraftâs conclusion regarding the Canadian political scene.
Yet, in the face of the ongoing and ever worsening crimes committed by the occupiers of the Middle East, the Canadian population is organizing and, determined to get their voice heard, the networks are getting stronger trying to overcome regional divisions.
Just a few days earlier, the Pan-Canadian peace alliance had held a convention where a resolution against the Apartheid Wall was part of the broader strategizing about effective mobilizing against the system of the Empire and the onslaught against the Middle East.
This meeting continued these efforts to build up unified and strong national mobilization and to put pressure on the Canadian government in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle against the Apartheid Wall, Israeli Occupation, and Apartheid.
For the webcast of the main presentations please see: www.workingtv.com.