Dogan Akman came to Canada from Turkey in 1957, completed several degrees including one in law, taught sociology-criminology and social welfare policy in university, and workedas a Crown prosecutor,then switched to civil litigation, and specialising in aboriginal law within the Federal Department of Justice.
July 10, 2020
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council,
80 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5K9
Re: Concerning the matter of Israel’s proposed extension of its territorial sovereignty and securing a peace treaty
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,
The reason for this letter is to urge you to put forth Canada as the leading honest broker in removing the current obstacles to a viable peace treaty between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
In response to Israel’s recent statement of intention to extend its sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and parts of Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank) in accordance with international law you received a number of written and verbal submissions as to the approach Canada ought to adopt in response to Israel’s proposed course of action.
To the best of my knowledge, save for the submission of CAEF, you have been advised that first, Israel’s plan is contrary to international law; and, second, in the event Israel proceeds with its intention, in part or in whole, Canada should adopt economic and/or diplomatic punitive measures against Israel.
With respect to the first point, I have no doubt whatsoever that a careful historical and contemporary analysis of the facts and the international law in effect between 1918 and 1948 and post-1948, the foregoing legal position is devoid of merit. I trust that your legal advisors in the Department of Justice and your Minister of Foreign Affairs will advise you to this effect. Further, should you so request, I shall be pleased to submit to you my analysis of the material facts and law on which my submission is grounded.
With respect to the second point, I have no doubt that the threat of such punitive measures will not deter Israel from proceeding with whatever final decision she will make. At all events, the parties and persons who ask you to proceed with penalties are undoubtedly not aware of the adverse impact such a measure may well have on Canada in the light of the Canada-Israel Free Trade Agreement.
This brings me to Canada's foreign policy concerning the Israel-Palestine conflict, which demands a negotiated two-state solution as the best and only possible solution in securing a durable peace.
Clearly, based on the history of the conflict, first between Israel and the Arab States starting with Israel’s War of Independence that required Israel to defend herself against five invading Arab armies that sought to destroy her in 1948-1949, with a number of them seeking to do so again in 1967 and then again in 1973, Israel did not have a peace partner until 1977 when she signed a peace treaty with Egypt.
In 1993, after nearly a half-century of Arab hostility against Israel (save for Egypt after 1977), the late Prime Minister Rabin and his government decided to take a leap of faith on the possibility of working progressively towards a two-state solution and initiated the process that led to the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords with the PLO, which in turn established the Palestinian Authority. Given the spirit and intent of this initiative, Jordan followed Egypt’s example and made peace with Israel in 1994.
Prime Minister, based on incontrovertible evidence, I think you will agree with me that the Oslo Accords turned out to be a major and bloody disappointment for Israel as the Palestinian Authority engaged in intifadas, and continued to terrorise, injure and kill a substantial number of innocent Israeli civilians and tourists whenever and wherever they had, have or could create the opportunity to do so.
Further, since the end of the Israeli War of Independence in 1949 and since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the UNSC (save for Resolution 242), has not done much to help establish and promote the conditions precedent to bring the Arab countries, and later the Palestinian Authority, to the negotiating table and to negotiate peace in good faith.
Since the War of 1967, the western world countries, save for the few principled ones among them (“Europe”), and the European Union through its successive Chief of Foreign Affairs (“the European Union”)focused on badgering Israel about the so-called “occupation” and alleged breaches of the civil and human rights of the Palestinians. Meanwhile, they have collectively shut their eyes to the criminal mischief committed by the Palestinian Authority against Israel and the Israelis.
And, if this was not bad enough, these same countries provided the Palestinian Authority with generous financial assistance which enabled it, to this day, to perpetrate its many wrongdoings against Israel.
To put it bluntly, in the wake of the War of 1967 and especially since the signing of the Oslo Accords, Europe and the European Union by omission or commission have, in effect, aided and abetted the Palestinian Authority in its evil schemes by defeating every Israeli (or, for that matter, American) peace initiative while continually badgering Israel for her imaginary legal wrongdoings and demanding that she remove herself from the lands she has been maliciously accused of “occupying” unlawfully.
In conclusion, from 1967 onwards, Europe and the European Union have consistently and hypocritically defeated the prospect of solving the conflict through a two-state solution, which they keep claiming to be the only realistic solution. In a real sense, these European countries, , the U.N. and the UNSC have been, and continue to be, largely responsible for the current state of affairs and the lack of a peace treaty.
Today, faced with the prospect to the proposed annexation, the Palestinian Authority suddenly professes to be interested in entering into negotiations with Israel. At the same time, however, it has formed an alliance with terrorist organisation Hamas whose sole objective is to destroy Israel and has been terrorizing the southern residents of Israel while destroying the environment. of southern Israel
Prime Minister, as you are undoubtedly aware, the Palestinian Authority’s long established pattern of driving negotiations to dead-ends and ignoring genuine and generous Israeli peace offers, suggest that the likelihood of the present offer to enter into negotiations leading anywhere near a peace treaty are virtually nil.
In the circumstances, I verily believe that the present situation affords Canada a genuine opportunity to become a proactive honest broker by calling the Palestinian Authority to task and giving it a reality check on what it must do in order to become a credible partner to a viable peace accord.
In this regard, Canada can and must also take the lead role in calling the European Union and most of its member countries to task. Canada must give them a reality check on what they must do in order to induce the Palestinian Authority to finally face the facts and seriously engage in the two-state solution peace process for which they have been advocating so fervently.
In order to have a credible peace process, the Palestinian Authority must be required to attend to and complete the following tasks prior to entering into peace negotiations with Israel:
Repudiate the legitimacy of all the terrorist groups in Gaza and in the Palestinian Authority and state clearly its binding disassociation with these groups.
a. The current Palestinian government is not a democratically or otherwise elected one. As such any peace treaty it may sign can be subsequently challenged on this ground. Accordingly, hold internationally supervised free elections at all existing levels of government by or before the end of 2021. During this period, the inhabitants of the P.A. within the currently existing post-1967 boundaries and Gaza must be afforded the full rights and freedoms to engage in the process of electioneering, including the freedoms of speech, opinion, belief and assembly, including the right to criticize and demonstrate against the current government. Members of the terrorist Hamas movement and of the other terrorist groups in Gaza whose sole ultimate aim is to destroy the State of Israel, and in the meantime to terrorize it, must be disqualified for standing for office.
b. Publicly admit the Palestinian Authority’s failure to honour the late President Arafat’s written admissions, undertakings and assurances to the late Prime Minister Rabin in a letter dated September 9,1993 which, inter-alia, reads:
“The P.L.O recognizes the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security…and commits itself…to a peaceful resolution between the two sides…The P.L.O renounces the use of terrorism and other acts of violence… the P.L.O affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist…are now inoperative and no longer valid.”
c. Issue a solemn declaration, before the UNGA and the UNSC that the Palestinian Authority and its successor state are morally and legally bound by the terms of said letter by making specific reference to said admissions, undertakings, assurances, and representations.
d. Amend the Palestinian Covenant by removing the articles which deny Israel’s right to exist and those which are fundamentally and in effect hostile to Israel and prejudicial to the peace process.
g. De-Nazify all the P.A political parties, the P.A. government and its various emanations;
h. Forbid any and all formal and informal private institutions, organizations, groups and individuals from engaging in neo-Nazi activities.
i. Stop financing directly or indirectly any and all neo-Nazi activities.
j. Admit and publish the existence, object and outcome of the Shoah in a factually accurate statement and distribute the document widely through all the educational institutions, libraries, the government and the civil service and public buildings.
k. Stop naming schools and any other place after terrorists and Arabs who collaborated with the Nazis prior to and during World War II and remove their names from schools and places named after these persons.
l. Stop praising martyrdom in connection with the killing of Israelis and Jews.
m. Discontinue prospectively the “pay for slay” program.
n. Publicly commit itself not to demand the insertion of a clause in the peace treaty with Israel that would provide for the settlement in Israel of all or most of the refugees, as defined by UNWRA, who choose to do so, and to agree to the insertion of a clause in the peace treaty that provides for the “mutual end of claims”, i.e. the mutual extinguishment of any and all the outstanding claims the contracting parties had prior to the signing of the treaty as well as for the extinguishment of any and all of the rights and claims the P.A. and the P.L.O. had or may have had prior to the execution of the treaty that are adverse to the State of Israel”.
o. Before the commencement of the next school year remove and destroy all the school books and educational materials in the schools and all the programs of UNWRA and of the Palestinian Authority that currently violate the UNESCO Principles of Education for Peace and Tolerance by containing hateful material designed to incite religious radicalisation and intolerance, and indoctrinate Palestinian students with a visceral hatred of Israel and of Jews so as to condition them to grow up to engage in violence against the Jews. Remove all books of similar nature from all libraries and prohibit the sale or circulation of such books.
p. Attend to the plight of the refugees under the jurisdiction of UNWRA by supporting their transfer to the UNHCR for resettlement, subject to the number of the original refugees which Israel would be prepared to take under a peace treaty, and limit the jurisdiction of UNWRA to servicing those who fled during the 1948-1949 war from the territory delineated by the 1949 armistice lines and do not wish to be re-settled in a third country.
z. Publicly disassociate the Palestinian Authority from the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
aa. Acknowledge Israel’s excellent track record of peace offers; peace initiatives such as withdrawing from Gaza and the Oslo Accords, and actual peace-making and sincere desire to live peacefully with all the Arab nations and with the Palestinian Authority.
bb. Demand and impose greater transparency and accountability for the financial assistance provided to the P.A. considering the incontrovertible facts that the citizens of P.A. are deprived of, or denied, the full benefits of foreign financial assistance due to corruption.
cc. Stop voting or abstaining from voting against on motions of the UNGA and in its various emanations that are gratuitously anti-Israeli and anti-semitic.
dd. Demand the Secretary-General of the U.N. take all necessary steps to cleanse the organization and its various emanations from the stench of systematic antisemitism and baseless anti-Israeli pronouncements.
Prime Minister, I believe that in making the foregoing recommendations I am not informing you of any hard facts of which your government and your European colleagues are not already aware. And, considering the cumulative rot that has set into the unthinking, not to say biased manner, in which the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has been handled to date, it will not be easy for Western European countries and the E.U to adopt and implement the foregoing recommendations. On the other hand, based on the evidence to date, I verily believe that failure to do so will make it practically impossible to resolve the conflict so long as the present conditions and circumstances prevail.
While the foregoing course of action is favourable to Israel, it will also be beneficial to the Palestinian Authority. Just as importantly, it is bound to create the level of trust and confidence required for treaty-making.
Just as importantly, the proposed course of action will also have the effect of progressively liberating the residents of the Palestinian Authority from their economic and political hardships and will free the refugees from being used as political pawns by the Palestinian Authority and afford them the opportunity to seek a fulfilling life.
Prime Minister, I urge you to give favourable consideration to the proposed policy and course of action and to adopt it.
Your leadership in this matter will be your political legacy in foreign affairs and a priceless gift to humanity.
Original signed by hand
Doğan Davit Akman Senior Counsel, Litigation Branch, Department of Justice (ret’d)
310 Clemow Avenue
Ottawa, ON K1S 2B8
cc: The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of External Affairs, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 Francois-Philippe.Champagne@parl.gc.ca
The Honourable David Lametti Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of Canada, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 David.Lametti@parl.gc.ca