Maps of the growing Israeli settlements on Palestinian territory are on display on buses and in a transit station in Canada’s western city of Vancouver and will soon roll out in Toronto and Calgary as well. “We think it’s important that Canadians be informed about the realities of the Israeli occupation and how it’s been growing consistently over the past 66 years, and to call for and support Palestinian human rights,” said Charlotte Kates of the Palestine Awareness Coalition, comprising seven peace and justice organizations sponsoring the ads.
Jewish groups denounce ads
Some Jewish groups have denounced the ads saying they are factually inaccurate, but Kates insists the series of maps showing Israeli encroachment are accurate and are based on statistics from the United Nations.
The UN Human Rights Council which investigated the policy of Israeli settlements concluded in January that the policy clearly violates the human rights of Palestinians. It called the settlements “a mesh of construction and infrastructure leading to a creeping annexation that prevents the establishment of a contiguous and viable Palestinian State and undermines the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.”
Israel has dismissed the report calling it one-sided and biased.
Ads counter Canada’s pro-Israel stance
“Canadian foreign policy under (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper has been extremely pro-Israel despite the fact that Israel has been building settlements, building an apartheid wall, continually refusing Palestinian refugees right to return, imprisoning thousands of political prisoners,” said Kates. “We think it’s important that Canadians know what is happening in Palestine so they can make change and speak up.”
Although several Jewish groups vehemently disagree with that there is one called the Independent Jewish Voices that is part of the coalition supporting the ad campaign.