Cross-posted to Jewschool.
One of the many frustrations I have when it comes to Israel is the whole settlement situation. It is illegal to start a new settlement in Israel. Every week, new settlements are started, and the government allows the majority to remain. It’s illegal, but the government doesn’t stop it. Huh. Israeli law, international law, the Geneva Convention, and Oslo are often sited in support of stopping, and removing, the settlements. But, still, Israel does not move on it. In fact, we often hear that the Israeli government is building houses in the territories, er East Jerusalem. (Because if you call it Jerusalem, the media’s less likely to call out the illegality of it.)
But what happens when the legalities play out elsewhere? Like in the Superior Court in Montreal?
[T]he gist of the case is the assertion that Israel is violating the 4th Geneva Convention, which prohibits a state from transferring its population into territories it occupies. Canada has incorporated that provision into its domestic law and it applies to Green Park and Green Mount. … [T]he lands in question are under the jurisdiction of the municipality of Bil’in and are part of Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
And what’s the case against Green Park and Green Mount?
Green Park International and Green Mount International, acting as agents of the government of Israel, are violating a host of international laws that govern conflicts, as well as Quebec’s Charter of Rights.
Also being sued is Annette Laroche, sole director and officer of the two corporations. Two million dollars in punitive damages are sought, as well as an order to cease construction.
The court documents allege the defendants, “on their own behalf and as de facto agents of the State of Israel, are… aiding, abetting and assisting and conspiring with the State of Israel in carrying out an illegal purpose.” [Full article.]
This case will be complicated, certainly. Israel has thus far refused to try cases on the grounds of jurisdiction, but will Quebec? As Green Park and Green Mount are both Quebec-based companies, they have to abide by Quebecois, Canadian, and international law; it seems clear that they’re not.
I’d like to see this case go through the system. If the plaintiffs win, it would set precedent for other Palestinian towns to file similar legal cases. And could possibly also deter international (ie, not Israeli) companies from supporting (building or funding) the illegal settlements. I mean, could you imagine how great it would be if Palestinians actually had a legal way to sue American Jews who buy homes in the territories (er, “Jerusalem”) sight unseen (such as the new Nof Zion community)? Will Quebec be an open enough venue for a case like this, with such strong opinions on both/all sides, especially in light of the Bouchard-Taylor Commission‘s findings?
* * *
In other, only vaguely related news, a bank in Canada is being sued by Canadians who live in Israel. They claim this bank, Lebanese Canadian Bank (somehow related to Royal Bank of Canada, which isn’t being sued), knowingly dealt with Hezbollah. And Hezbollah’s to blame for the Lebanese war in 2006, during which the plaintiffs’ homes were damaged/destroyed. I’m not sure how this will play out. [Full article.]
(Is there something in the water, Montreal?)
Yes, those are muppets (Judge Gavel Doozer from “Fraggle Rock;” muggaphone player and Judge Marvin Suggs from “The Muppet Show”). Why not?)
Filed under: canada, israel, palestine, politics, war