The Palestine Papers
NSU Talking Points for Meeting between Abbas and MacKay

NSU draft of talking points for meeting between Mahmoud Abbas and Canada FM Peter MacKay dated January 2007. Issues of concern include political process, Canada's vote at the UN, Settlements, the Wall, Jerusalem and the AMA.

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Talking Points

Meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay  

Ramallah, Palestine

21 January 2007



Political Process


  •  The failures of unilateralism, militarism and indefinite interim solutions reaffirm that the only way to achieve peace in the region is through direct, bilateral negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis, on the basis of international law, UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the “land for peace” formula.  The PLO remains willing and ready to resume permanent status negotiations with Israel immediately. 


Canada?s Vote at the UN


Canada?s vote at the UN and other public statements on the Palestine Question should be consistent with international laws and should accurately reflect Canadian foreign policy and values.

  •  The current Canadian government has changed Canada?s long-standing vote on no less than four annual UN General Assembly resolutions relating to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.  In each case, Canada failed to provide adequate explanation of the change in its vote, raising concerns that Canada is giving support for Israel where none is merited to the detriment of international law.  
  •  Canada?s lack of support for resolutions advocating self-determination and a people?s sovereignty over its natural resources threatens to erode Canada?s credibility on the world stage, and ability to intervene as an impartial third party in the conflict.
  •  As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour rightly noted on her recent visit to the OPT, respect and enforcement of international law is the only way to achieve a lasting, peaceful solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict: “[D]iscussion of th[e] crisis, and more importantly action to address it, [must] be re-positioned within a framework of international human rights law.”


Settlements/Wall and Jerusalem


The Canadian government should issue a strong, public and principled statement on Israel?s settlement activity, reaffirming Canada?s position that (1) settlements are illegal and (2) are a serious obstacle to a just and lasting peace, and (3) urging Israel to stop the expansion of settlements and construction of the Wall on Palestinian land as a first step towards a lasting comprehensive peace.  

  •  While Canada has been quick to condemn Palestinian acts, the current Canadian government has thus far failed to react to Israel?s ongoing expansion of settlements, its de facto annexation of East Jerusalem and its construction of the Wall on Palestinian land.  
  •  Ongoing Israeli settlement activity in the OPT represents the single greatest threat to the establishment of a prosperous, independent Palestinian state and, hence, to a just and lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
  •  Despite the Roadmap?s clear call for a freeze on “all settlement activity”, Israel continues to intensify its colonization and annexation of Palestinian territory, particularly in and around occupied East Jerusalem, displacing and fragmenting the Palestinian people.
    •  Israel tendered nearly 1,000 new units in 2006, which will house up to 5,000 new settlers.
    •  Israel continues large scale construction inside the E-1 area between Ma?ale Adumim and East Jerusalem, as well as construction of the Wall around the Adumim settlement bloc.  The E-1 Plan and the Adumim Wall, both of which are aimed at permanently severing Palestinian East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, would also cut the West Bank in half and thus they undermine the viability and the contiguity of a future Palestinian state, rendering the two-state solution inapplicable.
    •  Construction of the Wall around Ariel settlement bloc in the central West Bank is rapidly proceeding, seizing some of the West Bank?s richest agricultural lands and water resources and severely impairing the contiguity of the future Palestinian state.
    •  Israel is erecting a virtual wall in the Jordan Valley. Physical obstacles and permit requirements deny two million Palestinians access to the region, while 8,000 Israeli settlers ? indeed all Israelis ? enjoy free and unfettered freedom of movement to and from the region.



Canada should pressure Israel to remove the measures that strangulate the Palestinian economy and prevent Palestinians from improving their own situation. There is no reason under Canadian law for Canada not to support the easing of movement restrictions and the transfer of withheld clearance revenues.

  •  Improving the Palestinian economic and humanitarian situation will improve the security situation for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
  •  Israel?s non-implementation of the AMA is strangulating the Palestinian economy and preventing Palestinians from improving their own situation.
    •  More than a year after the conclusion of the AMA, Israel continues to flout every one of its major obligations under the AMA, including non-interference with the opening of Rafah, signing the Customs Protocol, opening Kerem Shalom for imports from or through Egypt, and opening Karni to full capacity.
    •  Despite Israel?s commitment in the AMA and other contexts to work to reduce the debilitating internal closure regime in the West Bank, closure has increased by approximately 40% since the AMA was concluded.  This closure regime is cited by many, including the World Bank and OCHA, as a primary cause of the dire economic situation and humanitarian crisis in the OPT today.       
  •  Israel must transfer all withheld clearance revenues belonging to the PA to prevent the total collapse of all Palestinian institutions built during the last 10 years..



  •  The issue of the Palestinian refugees and their right to return is a major component of any potential peace agreement with Israel that cannot be ignored or singled out from negotiations.
  •  Any solution for the refugee issue should be just and based on UNGA resolution 194.
  •  Canada?s position as the Gavel-Holder of the Multi-lateral Working Group on Refugees could be used so that Canada would play an active role in the revival of the permanent status negotiations. This should be done in a manner consistent with Canada?s historic role as a neutral and impartial mediator committed to international law and without prejudicing the outcome of negotiations.