CAF National President questions Baird’s controversial visit to occupied East Jerusalem

April 15, 2013

Re: Controversial Meeting in Occupied East Jerusalem

Dear Minister Baird,
I am writing this letter to express our deep concern in your meeting with Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni in Occupied East Jerusalem.

Since 1967, Canada has historically aligned itself with the international consensus in opposing Israel’s unilateral annexation of East Jerusalem.

I fear that your decision, although you described it to be “irrelevant”, is setting a precarious and serious precedent.
Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem is a breach of international law and your actions may be perceived as an underlying support of this breach.
It was noted in The Globe and Mail that while in East Jerusalem you were overhead saying that; “the stop would have made Canadian diplomats nervous”.

It is unfortunate that through your one-sided use of coercion towards the issues sensitive to the Palestinians, Canada has further isolated itself in the international community.

The decision, be it a protocol blunder or negligence on behalf of your ministry, has reduced the role Canada intends to hold in the region and may regrettably serve to be detrimental to Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts in restarting negotiations between the two parties.

I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you to further discuss this decision in addition to the other issues you were able to resolve and/or observe during your trip to the Middle East.

I can be contacted at

Dr. Farid Ayad
National President
Canadian Arab Federation

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