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Photo: Reuters
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Photo: Reuters
Canada: We won't remain neutral as Israel battles extremists
Week after Liberal party candidate accuses Israel of war crimes, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper shows unequivocal support for Israel. Harper: When dealing with war between Israel and terrorist organization, this country cannot and will never be neutral
Canada won't remain neutral while Israel is fighting to defend itself against extremists, promised Candian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a speech Wednesday to the Jewish community of Toronto. He emphasized that Israel will enjoy full support and friendship from the Canadian government.

 

"When it comes to dealing with a war between Israel and a terrorist organization, this country and this government cannot and will never be neutral," said Harper. "Those who seek to destroy the Jews, who seek to destroy Israel, will ultimately seek to destroy us all. It is why Canada's new government has reacted with speed and spoken with clarity on the recent events in the Middle East."

 

Harper was one of the first to show support for Israel last July when the IDF went to war in southern Lebanon. During the war he even spoke with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Olmert and expressed his support for action against Hizbullah.

 

Alongside his support of Israel, Harper emphasized that the Palestinians also deserve a fair and just future and that he hopes a two-state solution can be found so that Israelis and Palestinian can live in peace alongside one another.

 

"Issues of human dignity, of giving people the opportunity to build their community, to realize their own dreams – as long as they respect the rights and dignity of others – are values we also share," Harper added in regards to the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

 

One week ago

Harper's warm statements came a week after the leading candidate for the Liberal party in Canada, Michael Ignatieff, accused Israel of committing war crimes in Lebanon. Ignatieff, a human rights activist, has sparked a political storm in Canada after claiming that the IDF bombing of the village of Qana was a war crime.

 

Ignatieff's comments were criticized by Harper, who said that Liberal party leadership candidates are anti-Israel.

 

Ignatieff denied Harper's claims and said that he sees himself as a "lifelong friend of Israel" and that there is no basis for Harper's accusations that the Liberal party is anti-Semitic.

 

Wednesday, the organization Canada-Israel, who had invited Ignatieff for a visit to Jerusalem, decided to cancel the planned trip. "We decided to wait until the political storm subsides," said Canada-Israel National Chair Marc Gold.

 

"These kinds of visits are of an educational nature. There goal is to expose parliament members to a wide range of issues. There is no doubt that this objective won't be achieved if everyone focuses on who said what," he added.

 

 

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