17 May, 2018
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister,
On behalf of the Group of 78, I am writing to express support for your criticism of the excessive and unjustifiable use of force by Israeli troops against unarmed Palestinian protestors. In addition to the high death toll, the deliberate maiming by Israeli snipers of many hundreds of civilians must be described as utterly reprehensible.
Palestinian protests, particularly in Gaza, have emerged in large part from the decade-long blockade imposed by Israel on the territory, where two-thirds of the population of 2 million in Gaza are long-term refugees. The result has led to appalling, and deteriorating, living conditions.
While we support your call for an independent inquiry into Israel’s use of force, we would urge you to look beyond to what needs to be done if the stalled peace process is ever to be revived. This includes, at a minimum, ending of the blockade of Gaza, termination of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, and discussion of the right of return by Palestinian refugees to their properties in Israel. If these root causes of conflict are not addressed, it is inevitable that the use of violence by the Israeli Defence Force against Palestinian protestors, whose grievances are entirely justifiable, will only grow.
Chair, Group of 78
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