Protest against Canadian Minister
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Protest against Canadian Minister

On January 18th, 2015, Canada's Foreign Minister, John Baird, was the target of a lively protest during his visit to Ramallah, a Palestinian city located 10km away from Jerusalem. The demonstration gathered around two hundred people.

The minister met with Riad Malki, the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss a possible return of the Palestinian side to negotiations with Israel without imposing any preconditions – such as the immediate halt on the expansion of settlements in Palestinian territory and the end of the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Several organizations, such as Stop The Wall, other popular committees and even the party al Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority, helped to organize the demonstration. Protesters ensured a clear, albeit peaceful, act of repudiation, despite the huge police presence on site. Protesters threw eggs at Braid minister's delegation, and signs could be seen everywhere which read: "Baird, you are not welcome in Palestine".

The Canadian Minister had asked the Palestinian Authority to apologize for comparing the Israeli government to ISIS with regards to the oppression they impose on the Palestinian people.  He also considered the Palestinian Authority's decision to press charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court (ICC) to be a "huge mistake" and a "provocation". Ironically, Canada was one of the countries responsible for creating the ICC, claiming to be proud of this achievement and stating that they have "supported the ICC from the start, and will continue to support it with leadership, advocacy and resources" in an official government webpage.

Jamal Juma, Stop the Wall's Campaign coordinator, commented: "The Minister arrived to strengthen Canada's policy of denying our rights to our land, self-determination and return. He arrived to pressure us to abandon our resistance, even when it comes to our demand that Israel respects international standards in an international court that Canada helped create. After decades of struggle and sacrifice, we demand that anyone visiting us recognizes our rights instead of contributing to their violation."

This protest is part of a series of other demonstrations organized in recent years by popular palestinian movements against governments and authorities that position themselves contrary to the rights of the Palestinian people, other people of the Middle East and indigenous people everywhere. John Kerry, Tony Blair and other war criminals have all been challenged in a similar way.