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Hills peace and justice group giving us hope

July 9th,2024 | Letters

The Editor,

In response to Stephanie Turple’s “Upholding western values” (July 3 edition) and what the group Hills for Peace and Justice calls (H4P&J) “‘genocide and colonization’” (June 12 edition)

As per the March 26, UN Human Rights Council’s reasonable grounds for qualifying Israel’s actions as genocide, “The genocide in Gaza is the most extreme stage of a long-standing settler colonial process of erasure of native Palestinians.” 

In response to “The country of Israel is not a colonizer”: “Following the foundation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948…over 530 villages were razed to the ground in a process that came to be known to the world as the establishment of Israel – and to Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’ (catastrophe). Zionist forces systematically took over land, expelling people from their homes and relinquishing many to live as refugees in isolated enclaves.” (OpenDemocracy.net). 

In response to “A country [Israel] that began…in a desert wasteland”: Estimated Palestinian population in 1946 equalled 1,845,560 (United Nations, The Question of Palestine).

As of 2023, over 745,000 Jewish settlers were living in 151 settlements built on Palestinian land. All Israeli settlements and settlers who live in them are illegal under international law (UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs).

In response to “The word genocide…cannot possibly be employed”, “Israel seeks to minimize these casualties”, and “Israel is a country held to a much higher standard than all others”: Israel’s military is killing Palestinians at an average rate of 250 people a day, exceeding the daily death toll of any other major conflict of recent years (Oxfam, Jan. 11). As of June 26, 35,091 Palestinians have been killed, 78,827 injured.

In response to “As Westerners, I find it curious…we seek to defend regimes that are clearly oppressive”: 

Agree. Canada approved $28.5M in military exports to Israel between October and December 2023…more in the first three months of Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza than in any single year in the last 30 years. The years 2015–2023 saw Canadian companies export an estimated $150 million in military goods to Israel (Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East).

In response to “Israel…is a democracy offering all these rights to its citizens”: For the past 54 years, Israeli authorities have adopted policies resulting in Palestinian citizens having a status inferior to Jewish citizens by law, being subjected to draconian military law, forced segregation, restricted movement, land confiscation, home demolition, prohibition on family reunification and suspension of basic human rights (Human Rights Watch). H4P&J has given our community an opportunity to listen and learn, hosting well-spoken, highly educated speakers so we can better understand the history, the media bias and – ultimately – have hope for the future of Palestine and Israel.

Alison Scott 

Val-des-Monts, QC

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