More than 11,000 people have signed a petition urging the Canadian government to reverse its vote in favor of an annual United Nations resolution that deems the Western Wall and other sites of Jewish worship occupied Palestinian territories.
The General Assembly motion in question, which passed on Tuesday afternoon, describes east Jerusalem — home to the Temple Mount and the Jewish Quarter of the Old City — “Occupied Palestinian Territory,” without recognizing any Israeli claims to the land. It also condemned the construction of the West Bank security barrier, which was erected following a Palestinian campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks targeting civilians.
Canada was among 164 countries that voted in favor of the resolution, which was brought forward by the North Korean, Egyptian, Nicaraguan, Zimbabwean, and Palestinian delegations. Five nations voted in opposition — namely Israel, the United States, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Nauru — while nine other countries abstained, among them Australia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Rwanda.
The measure is one of 20 resolutions targeting Israel during the 2019-2020 General Assembly session. Only six other GA resolutions were adopted against all other countries combined, the UN Watch monitoring group said.
Critics said the Canadian decision had marked a reversal of a decades-long, bipartisan opposition to the resolution, and may have been an effort to curry favor for Canada’s campaign to gain a UN Security Council seat next year.
The petition, launched by UN Watch last week, condemned Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the vote, saying it “broke with Canada’s long-standing policy of opposing the hijacking of U.N. bodies by dictatorships to scapegoat the Jewish state.”
Yet it suggested there was still time for Canada to correct its stance, as “the resolution will come up for a second and final vote at the U.N. General Assembly in mid-December.”
“Sign this petition today to demand that Mr. Trudeau tear up this Faustian bargain, and to stop trading Canada’s principles of fairness in exchange for the votes of dictatorships in Trudeau’s bid for a U.N. Security Council seat,” it urged.
Several Jewish community groups have also raised opposition to the Canadian vote last week, calling it a betrayal of a democratic ally and an effort to legitimize the UN’s singular focus on Israel.
“That neither this resolution nor any other currently being considered even acknowledge the obscene barrage of Palestinian-launched rockets and missiles raining down on Israel’s civilian population reflects just how distorted and one-sided these resolutions are,” said Joel Reitman, national co-chair of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.