Never thought I’d see the day when Canada would be more pro-Israel than the United States.
(Globe and Mail) — The Harper government is refusing to join the United States in calling for a return to 1967 borders as a starting point for Mideast peace, a position that has drawn sharp criticism from Canada’s staunch ally Israel.
At a briefing ahead of the upcoming G8 summit in France, federal officials said the basis for the negotiations must be mutually agreed upon.
Israel quickly rejected U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposal for the talks to be guided by the 1967 borders, with mutually agreed land swaps.
“What the government of Canada supports is basically a two-state solution that is negotiated,” a senior federal official said. “If it’s border, if it’s others issues, it has to be negotiated, it cannot be unilateral action.”
Pressed by reporters, federal officials said both the Israelis and the Palestinians have to decide on their bottom lines, which the Israelis have said will not include a return to the 1967 border.
“If the two parties are of the view that this is a starting point, that is fine for them,” said the federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The Prime Minister’s director of communications, Dimitri Soudas, added that Canada’s position continues to be the search for a two-state solution.
“No solution, ultimately, is possible without both parties sitting down, negotiating and agreeing on what that final outcome will look like,” he said.
Mr. Obama boosted Palestinian hopes for an independent state during a speech by pointedly calling on Israel to regard its 1967 borders as the basis for a neighbouring Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.