Global Affairs Canada expressed concerns regarding “extremist settler violence” in the West Bank on Monday, calling for the Israeli government to intervene.
“Canada strongly condemns the extremist settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and is also gravely concerned by reports of Palestinian communities being forcibly removed from their lands in the West Bank,” said Global Affairs in a statement.
“Canada, along with partners, calls on the Government of Israel to take immediate action to stop such further occurrences of extremist settler violence, protect the Palestinian population, and hold those responsible for the violence accountable under the law.”
Since the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Hamas terrorists, the United Nations has reported a significant increase in what it says are Israeli settler attacks in the West Bank.
Settlements refer to communities in historic Judea and Samaria inhabited by roughly 500,000 Jews. These communities are disputed and frequently condemned by the United Nations, which maintains they are illegal.
Canada similarly believes the settlements are illegal, though Israel rejects this characterization.
On Monday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released an update claiming that over the last six weeks, there have been 256 settler attacks against Palestinians and at least 143 Palestinian households accounting for over 1,000 people who have been displaced “amid settler violence and access restrictions.”
“(Canada) strongly condemns the extremist settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank and is gravely concerned by reports of Palestinian communities being forcibly removed from their lands” wrote Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly on X.
“This violence negatively impacts efforts to achieve a negotiated two-state solution.”
Former Canadian ambassador to Israel Vivian Bercovici criticized Joly’s comment as “focusing obsessively (on Israel) and exaggerating negative reports in order to appease your HamasISIS (sic) base.”
The Associated Press reported that towns have been raided with property damaged and olive trees destroyed during harvest season.
Many Palestinians were forced from their homes and detainees have been beaten.
Honest Reporting Canada, a pro-Israel media watchdog, says that discussion of settlements – a term that is itself loaded – is often one-sided and lacks nuance, holding Israelis and Palestinians to different standards.
Critics say Israeli settlements in the West Bank are a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits an “occupying power from transferring parts of its own civilian population into a territory it occupies.”
Defenders say there is no occupation as the land is historically Jewish and there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state.
“As has been the position of successive Canadian governments, Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967, and strongly opposes illegal settlement outposts in the West Bank,” said Global Affairs.
“The settlements constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” added Global Affairs.
“Canada continues to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination and remains committed to the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region, of a two-state solution, including the creation of an independent, viable Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with Israel.”