"Canada and Israel Are Two Democracies That Share Values"



By: ELAD BENARI  
Published: September 16th 2010
in News » Local

Minister of State Kent meets with Israeli Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon
Minister of State Kent signing the Book of Remembrance after the Children's Memorial at Yad Vashem

While in the region, Kent also had a meeting with the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Riad Malki. He dismissed recent reports that Canada’s relationship with the PA is tense. “There was criticism in a number of areas that Canada would talk to Minister Malki because of his previous history and his association with a list of organizations, but I think our position is that he is a minister in the Palestinian Authority, and the Palestinian Authority embraces the PLO’s representation of the Palestinian people in these direct peace talks. Canada is quite willing to talk with anyone who supports the quest for peace.”

 

Kent added that unlike Malki and the Palestinian Authority, Hamas’ position is “tragically clear” and that it is “trying to block any peace talks.” Referring to the two terror attacks that took place in the West Bank during his visit, he said that “Canada recognizes that the Palestinians who favour a negotiated state solution were as much under attack in the two terrorist incidents as the civilians who were killed. That attack wasn’t just on Israeli citizens. That attack was on peace loving people in both the West Bank and in Israel.”

 

All in all, Kent said that Canada and Israel’s relationship is as strong as ever at the present time. “We are two democracies that share values. Canada recognizes unequivocally Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, and to defend itself from attacks, and Israel accepts straight talk from a friend and ally on the issues that we confront both in the region and around the world. Our relationship is open and it’s a valued relationship.”

 

He also has an answer to those who claim that Canada has “tilted too far” in favour of Israel: “Our government sees no moral equivalency between terror and between democracy, and we strongly support Israel and its right to exist in peace and security, but we also strongly support those Palestinians who are interested in a negotiated, fair, two-state solution and who are willing to recognize the State of Israel’s right to exist and to live in a peaceful co-existence.”

 

The trip wasn’t all work, however. Kent and his wife (for whom this was her first ever trip to Israel) visited sites such as Yad Vashem, the newly reopened Eretz Yisrael Museum in Jerusalem, and the Technion in Haifa, where they saw the contributions of known Canadian philanthropists such as Seymour Schulich and Peter Munk.

 

“[My wife] loved it and she’s already saying we’ve got to go back,” said Kent. “I think every Canadian should visit [Israel and see] the reality of a democracy in the Middle East.”

Related articles: (Peter Kent, Israel, Canada)




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