Canada Colludes in Suppressing Palestinians

Current peace negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian officials are unlikely to end, let alone reverse, Palestinian dispossession. The power imbalance between the sides is simply too great. While Canada could be part of the solution, so far it has been part of the problem.

The largest Palestinian political force, Hamas, has been excluded from these U.S.-sponsored talks, while the electoral mandate of the Palestinian representative, Mahmoud Abbas, expired 20 months ago. Abbas, who arbitrarily extended his term as Palestinian Authority President, is heavily dependent on countries such as the U.S. and Canada, and this has undermined his negotiating position.

After Hamas won Canadian-monitored and facilitated legislative elections in early 2006, Stephen Harper made Canada the first country to cut its assistance to the Palestinian Authority. The goal was to sow division among Palestinians, and it worked. Immediately after the Palestinian unity government collapsed in mid 2007, the Canadian International Development Agency contributed $8 million “in direct support to the new [Abbas-led] government.”

Ottawa pumped millions of dollars into training a Palestinian security force “to ensure that the PA [Palestinian Authority] maintains control of the West Bank against Hamas,” as Canadian ambassador to Israel, Jon Allen, was quoted as saying by the Canadian Jewish News.

U.S. Lt.-Gen. Keith Dayton, in charge of organizing the 10,000-member Palestinian force supported by Canada, never admitted that he was strengthening Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah against Hamas, but to justify his program Dayton argued that Iran and Syria funded and armed Hamas. Bolstering Fatah to counteract the growing strength of Hamas was the impetus for Dayton’s mission, yet the broader aim was, and is, to build a force to patrol Israel’s occupation.

“We don’t provide anything to the Palestinians,” noted Dayton, “unless it has been thoroughly coordinated with the state of Israel and they agree to it.” For instance, Israel’s internal intelligence agency, the Shin-Bet, vets all of the Palestinian recruits.

Brigadier-General Michael Herzog, chief of staff to Defence Minister Ehud Barak, explained the Israeli military’s position: “We’re very happy with what he’s [Dayton] doing.”

The Israelis support Dayton’s force because it keeps the population in the West Bank under control. On August 25, Abbas’s security force suppressed a demonstration in Ramallah against the current negotiations, which are taking place without preconditions and while Israel continues to build the wall as well as Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Similarly, 20 months ago, “Dayton’s men” (as they are derisively called by Palestinians) disrupted demonstrations in the West Bank against Israel’s 22-day assault on Gaza that left 1,400 dead.

The new Palestinian security forces are primarily trained in Jordan at the U.S.- built International Police Training Center (created to train Iraqi security). In October 2009 the Wall Street Journal reported, “[Palestinian] recruits are trained in Jordan by Jordanian police, under the supervision of American, Canadian, and British officers.”

In the West Bank, 18 Canadian troops work with six British and 10 U.S. soldiers under Dayton’s command. “The Canadian contribution is invaluable,” explained Dayton. Canadians are particularly useful because “U.S. personnel have travel restrictions when operating in the West Bank. But, our British and Canadian members do not.” Calling them his “eyes and ears” Dayton said, “The Canadians … are organized in teams we call road warriors, and they move around the West Bank daily visiting Palestinian security leaders, gauging local conditions.”

Ottawa has invested heavily in Dayton’s mission. In January 2007, then foreign affairs minister, Peter MacKay, offered an immediate $1.2-million for Dayton’s mission, and during a joint press conference in Jerusalem, then U.S. secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, said Dayton “has a Canadian counterpart with whom he works very closely.” When Foreign Affairs Minister, Maxime Bernier, traveled to Israel in January 2008, he met Dayton, and last October Canada’s chief of defence, Walt Naynczyk, visited Canada’s “road warriors” during a trip to meet Israeli military officials.

Part of the U.S. Security Coordinator office in Jerusalem, the Canadian military mission in the West Bank (dubbed Operation PROTEUS) now includes RCMP officers as well as officials from Foreign Affairs, Justice Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency. According to deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter Kent, Operation PROTEUS is Canada’s “second largest deployment after Afghanistan” and it receives “most of the money” from a five-year $300 million Canadian “aid” program to support the security apparatus of Abbas’ Palestinian Authority.

As the weaker side, Palestinians need countries like the U.S. and Canada to pressure Israel to return land it occupies against international law. Unfortunately, the current negotiations have begun with Canada and the U.S. undermining Palestinian unity and strengthening the long-suffering population’s most compliant leaders.

Yves Engler is the author of 12 books. His latest book is Stand on Guard for Whom?: A People's History of the Canadian Military . Read other articles by Yves.

6 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on September 17th, 2010 at 10:45am #

    Sonia Karkar of Australians for Palestine has just sent this through.

    18 September 1982 – 2010

    “Munir’s Story” by Franklin Lamb

    Editor’s Note: No – don’t skip this story thinking you have read all you
    care to read about Sabra-Shatila. Not in your lifetime could you read
    enough to understand the full import of this savage inhumanity. Every
    single person killed had meaning, had family, had memories and had life
    until it was snuffed out by those whose lives never resonated in harmonious vibration with life’s longing for itself. Somehow, somewhere, they lost or traded their souls for hatred, lust, blood, thrills – who knows what strips us back to naked barbarity. But of this I am sure – none would live free of torment today – the nightmares, the shaking, the sweats, the searing flashes of memory that will never bring a single moment of peace for the crimes committed in three days of vicious frenzy and twenty-eight years since of running from justice. There is no hiding from truth or justice. One day the snarling dogs these tormentors unleashed will turn on them and nothing then will save the warmongers or those that cheered them on. And those who thought to turn the page just now, read and be ashamed that today the world is still mute on the humiliations, horrors and massacres that have been and are being perpetrated against the Palestinian people with wanton impunity.

    The untreated psychic wounds are still open. Accountability, justice and
    basic civil rights for the survivors are still denied.

    Scores of horror testimonies have been shared over the past nearly three
    decades by survivors of the September 1982 Sabra- Shatila massacre. More come to light only through circumstantial evidence because would-be affiants perished during the slaughter. Other eyewitness are just beginning to emerge from deep trauma or self imposed silence.

    Some testimonies will be shared this month by massacre survivors at Shatila camp. They will sit with the growing numbers of international visitors who annually come to commemorate one of the most horrific crimes of the 20th century.

    Continue reading:

    Sonja Karkar
    Australians for Palestine

  2. Ismail Zayid said on September 17th, 2010 at 4:28pm #

    Canada’s role in denying the Palestinians their fundamental rights go back to 1947 whwn Mr. Lester Pearson and Justice Rand, who were instrumental in the formulation of the unjust UNGA Partition resolution #181 of Nov. 29, 1947. In this resolution it was formulated to partition Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state. At the time, the Jews in Palestine, including mostly recent and illegal immigrants, constituted 31% of the population and owned 5.6% of the land. Yet they were apportioned 56% of the land, while the Muslim and Christian indigenous citizens of Palestine, who owned over 90% of the land, were apporioned 42% of the land, and the remaining 2% were apportioned for Jerusalem, as an international zone. In recognition of Lester Pearson support for the Zionist programme, he was described by the Zionist supporters in Canada, as “The Balfour of Canada”.

    Canada’s unquestioning support for Israel continues, as confirmed in our voting record in the UNGA and the UN Human Rights Council.

  3. Rehmat said on September 18th, 2010 at 5:07am #

    Ismail Zayid – Canada was never Judaized as it’s under Stephen Harper and Canadian Jewish Congress now. How many Canadian know that their country did not allow the European Jews to enter Canada on the fear that it will create more so-called ‘anti-Semitism’? – Against the western Jews who are Asiatic Turks and not Semites.

    Israel’s most trusted government of Stephen Harper had been approached by some ‘anti-Semitic’ individuals who are planning to raise $300,000 to send a Canadian vessel to join the Free Gaza Movement coming adventure to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza residents, who were crazy enough to elect an anti-Zionist Islamist group Hamas in 2006. Canadian Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon (extremely allergic to Ahmadinejad’s policy towards Israel) has advised the group to make sure they follow the rules set up by Israel for getting supplies to Gaza. In other words, the Israeli rules are more ‘sacred’ and should not be challeged – but the Canadians are quite free to break the Biblical commandments.

    In response, the Canadian Boat Gaza has come up with a novel idea. Instead of taking aid material to Gaza, it might help Gazzan to export some goods to boost their economy.

  4. mary said on September 20th, 2010 at 2:04am #

    How beautifully ironic that the JNF forests, which were planted over the razed remains of Palestinian villages and dwelling places, have been destroyed by fire.

    Canada Park is one of these forests of course.

  5. mary said on September 20th, 2010 at 2:43am #

    Not Canada this time but the US. You couldn’t make this up.

    First of all you are made a refugee by the Zionists. Then you go to Iraq to make a home. Then you are made a refugee again by the USUKIsNATO horror of war on Iraq and when finally you get to the US, you are asked to pay your fares and resettlement costs.

    And still the Palestinian will find forgiveness.

  6. mary said on September 21st, 2010 at 11:27pm #

    Israeli Thugs and Bullies Continue to Oppress Palestinian Children

    My blood boils.