Canada's FM talks of 'just' peace, avoids mentioning two-states

Freeland said that her visit “is an opportunity for Canada to underscore that we do stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel."

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canada Foriegn Minister Chrystia Freeland (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Canada Foriegn Minister Chrystia Freeland
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Canada is committed to comprehensive peace in the Mideast, visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said on Wednesday, noticeably using phrasing that avoided mention of a two-state solution.
Speaking briefly alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before a meeting in the Foreign Ministry, Freeland said that her visit – the first by a Canadian foreign minister since Justin Trudeau became prime minister in 2015 – “is an opportunity for Canada to underscore that we do stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Israel.
“We have an unwavering, ironclad commitment to the security of Israel,” she said. “We support Israel’s right to live in peace and we are committed to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East.”
Most western diplomats, when visiting here and talking about their commitment to the Mideast peace process, refer to “two states” living side by side in peace and security. The glaring exception is US President Donald Trump, who for the most part refrains from using the two-state terminology.
Freeland began her comments by pausing and paying tribute to the victims of the attack at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, saying that what happened there “strengthens the shared commitment of Canada and Israel to work together to strengthen our ties and fight antisemitism together.”
She said that “peace, security and acceptance are fragile, and we must work together to combat hate, prejudice and antisemitism.”
From the ruling Liberal Party, Freeland noted that Canada is proud of its strong relationship with Israel, and said this is something that has endured for 70 years regardless of which political party is in power in Ottawa.
She noted that Canada hosts the world’s fourth largest Jewish community with some 350,000 Jews, some of whom she said that she met in passing on a tour earlier in the day of Jerusalem’s Old City.
Freeland made special mention of Netanyahu’s “personal involvement” and Israel’s “exceptional work” in rescuing some 800 White Helmet volunteers and their families from Syria in July. Many of them have been absorbed by Canada.
“This is something that Canada was proud to be a part of – a real example of working together to save the lives of some very brave people,” she said.
Netanyahu, in his comments, also made mention of the rescue operation.
“We appreciate your commitment to take the White Helmets. I think that’s a humanitarian action of the first order. Something that we did jointly – and I think it’s an example of the kind of responsible intervention that characterizes Canada and Israel,” he said.
Netanyahu said the two countries enjoy a “great friendship,” mentioning that some 35,000 Canadians live in Israel, and that about 100,000 Israelis travel to Canada every year.
“We appreciate your support in various international forums. In fact, you have said that you will not establish international relations with Iran, which ought to be self-evident for a country that openly calls for the destruction of the one and only Jewish state – but you have acted on it and we appreciate that,” he said.
In addition to Netanyahu, Freeland also met on Wednesday with President Reuven Rivlin, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, and opposition head Tzipi Livni. She is scheduled to deliver a speech on Thursday to the Israel Council on Foreign Relations, and then go to Ramallah for meetings with Palestinian Authority officials there. The foreign minister is scheduled to fly back to Canada on Friday morning.
In a related diplomatic development, Netanyahu postponed a planned trip to Albania on Thursday to meet the leaders of Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina because several of the leaders who had planned to attend were unable to do so.
He is still scheduled to fly to Bulgaria on Friday to meet his colleagues from Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece.