Canada’s Foreign Affairs minister, Peter MacKay, has announced that Canada has cut diplomatic ties with Palestine as its newly elected Hamas administration determinedly refuses to renounce its violent methods. As a result, Canada becomes the second nation, after Israel, to suspend financial aid to the newly elected government of Palestine.
Canadians should be proud that once again they are taking a leading role in the affairs of our globe. It is a refreshing change from the previous federal government who allowed foreign policy to be decided by which way the wind was blowing and how Canadian and international pollsters could arrange for their poll results to read.
For the first time in more than a decade, we as Canadians finally have some leadership. Hearing our nation take a stand before almost anyone else once again shows that we are willing and able to lead in a global theatre and that we are sure of the value system with which we reach our decisions. For too long, our nation has stood back until there were enough voices in the room that we were barely noticed when we finally decided to enter into it. That is not leadership, but simply relegates us to the status of follower. That is not who we are, nor to what we should aspire.
In a statement released shortly after being sworn in, incoming Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has insisted that his party would not renounce violence or terrorism and said Hamas would continue not to recognize Israel. That leaves most civilized nations with little room to maneuver and forces the international community to withdraw support for the Palestinian government.
On Monday, Mr. Haniyeh told legislators that “The great Palestinian people should not be punished for choosing their leadership in free and democratic elections. Those who believe that economic pressures will force our government into submission are wrong.”
It must be stated unequivocally that the goal of nations such as Canada are not to punish the people of Palestine for their democratic choice, but that by no means removes the obvious consequences of their choice to elect a terrorist organization to be their representatives, not only at home but also on the international stage. The Palestinian people must also accept responsibility for any humanitarian crisis that comes about because of their choice. That is not a form of punishment, but simply a consequence of making a very poor choice.
While Mr. Haniyeh states that the choice of the Palestinian people should be respected, he must also in the same breath realize that nations such as ours have no obligation or willingness to aid organizations or nations who have sworn to annihilate our friends and allies. It works both ways, whether that is palatable to him or not.
In a statement issued from our nation’s capital, Mr. MacKay said that “The stated platform of this government (Hamas) has not addressed the concerns raised by Canada and others concerning non-violence, the recognition of Israel, and acceptance of previous agreements and obligations, including the roadmap for peace. As a result, Canada will have no contact with the members of the Hamas cabinet and is suspending assistance to the Palestinian Authority.”
On Wednesday he added “Hamas is a terrorist organization. We cannot send any direct aid to an organization that refuses to renounce terrorist actions, refuses to renounce violence.”
It is so satisfying to see our elected leaders use terms that fit, not terms that are carefully weighed or are in vogue with the ever changing pulse of political correctness. While the CBC no longer prefers the word ‘terrorist’, it is the precise definition of the radical anti-Semitic group known as Hamas. Winning an election hasn’t changed that fact one bit.