October 13, 2006
by Ron Saba
Member of Parliament
According to the today’s Toronto Star article “PM accuses Liberals on Israel”, you “said Ignatieff should produce evidence that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in Qana or withdraw his accusation that the attack constitutes a war crime.”
I wish to bring to your attention the fact that the two most highly respected human rights organizations in the world, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have published extensive reports accusing Israel of committing war crimes in Lebanon.
The Human Rights Watch report titled “Fatal Strikes, Israel’s Indiscriminate Attacks Against Civilians in Lebanon” states the following in its summary:
“By consistently failing to distinguish between combatants and civilians, Israel has violated one of the most fundamental tenets of the laws of war: the duty to carry out attacks on only military targets. The pattern of attacks during the Israeli offensive in Lebanon suggests that the failures cannot be explained or dismissed as mere accidents; the extent of the pattern and the seriousness of the consequences indicate the commission of war crimes.”
The Amnesty International report titled “Israel/Lebanon: Evidence indicates deliberate destruction of civilian infrastructure” states the following:
“Amnesty International today published findings that point to an Israeli policy of deliberate destruction of Lebanese civilian infrastructure, which included war crimes, during the recent conflict.”
If you are too busy to read the truth about Israeli war crimes in Lebanon, perhaps you will have time to view the following photos. In addition, I am confident the thousands of Lebanese residing in your riding of Ville St. Laurent can provide you details about the Israeli war crimes at Marwahin and Qana and dozens of other Lebanese towns.
That is if you care about the truth.
Montreal Planet Magazine
PM accuses Liberals on Israel
Ignatieff, Rae hit back at Harper but Dion wants Ignatieff to clarify his position
Oct. 12, 2006. 08:27 PM | Toronto Star
Most of the candidates vying for the leadership of the Liberal party are anti-Israel, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday, as controversy swirled over comments by front-runner Michael Ignatieff.
Ignatieff’s statement that Israel had perpetrated a war crime with its attack on Lebanon typified that sentiment, Harper said.
“This is consistent with the anti-Israeli position that has been taken by virtually all of the candidates for the Liberal leadership,” he said.
“I don’t think it’s helpful or useful.”
Ignatieff, who calls himself a “lifelong friend of Israel,” hit back at Harper.
“It is disgraceful that the prime minister is playing crass politics with the issue of the Middle East,” Ignatieff said in a statement.
“Frankly, it is beneath him and his office to do so.”
In late July, Israeli war jets killed as many as 28 civilians in a strike aimed at Hezbollah guerrillas, who had been raining rockets on Israel from Lebanon.
On Sunday, Ignatieff who had previously said the deaths wouldn’t cost him any sleep, sparked controversy during an appearance on a French-language television program when he revisited the event.
“What happened in Qana was a war crime,” Ignatieff told Radio-Canada.
“I should have said that. That’s clear.”
Speaking at a law-and-order announcement in Toronto, Harper called the war-crime accusation a “serious charge” and made it clear he didn’t share the view.
None of the seven leadership candidates rushed to Ignatieff’s defence but they saved their strongest criticism for Harper, accusing him of polarizing the country.
Bob Rae, a strong contender, called Harper’s “shameful” comments a “classically thoughtless, deeply divisive thing” to say.
“It’s the politics of the big smear,” said Rae. “I don’t know why he would say such a thing.”
Gerard Kennedy said the Liberal party is “in an awkward place,” trying to respond to “momentous” events in the Middle East without a permanent leader, which has led to some incautious remarks.
But he said “it’s too cute by half and somewhat irresponsible” for Harper to play petty partisan games with such a divisive issue.
Ken Dryden echoed those remarks, saying Harper’s comment is “completely wrong.”
“All that is, is creating divides and Mr. Harper has shown himself to be a great divider,” he said in an interview.
“That’s his instinct, that’s his approach.”
Lone Atlantic contender Scott Brison said Harper is “intentionally and maliciously misrepresenting the Liberal party’s position on Israel.”
He noted in an interview that it was a Liberal government that listed Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and that the party has always defended Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.
Stephane Dion said Harper’s comments were not very “prime ministerial.”
“I think it’s an insult, not only for me and the other candidates but for the millions of Canadians who believe like us that to be a good friend of Israel this summer was to request a ceasefire right away,” Dion said in an interview.
Dion said Ignatieff should produce evidence that Israel deliberately targeted civilians in Qana or withdraw his accusation that the attack constitutes a war crime.
In a statement Thursday, B’nai Brith Canada called for the Liberal party to disassociate itself from Ignatieff’s remarks.
It also called on other leadership candidates to denounce publicly Ignatieff’s statement.
“We have written to all Liberal leadership contenders asking them to place truth above politics and to come forward to denounce Ignatieff’s remarks,” said Frank Dimant, B’nai Brith Canada’s executive vice president.
“The callous playing of the Middle East card in order to secure votes has only succeeded in stirring up tensions here at home.”
On Wednesday, Ignatieff’s Toronto campaign co-chair, MP Susan Kadis, publicly renounced her support for him over his views.
Earlier in the campaign, Toronto MP Jim Karygiannis resigned as Joe Volpe’s manager for Volpe’s unwavering defence of Israel.
On Thursday, Volpe criticized Ignatieff’s views as not representative of Liberal policy.
“I strongly disagree with his opinion on Israel’s self-defence measures in a conflict that was started by a Hezbollah attack launched from Lebanese territory,” said Volpe.
Another candidate, Gerard Kennedy was forced to distance himself after one of his supporters accused Israel of engaging in “state terrorism.”