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Coalition sues Ottawa to stop military exports to Israel | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The purpose of this lawsuit directed specifically against the Minister of Foreign Affairs is to prevent her department from issuing the necessary permits to export Canadian military equipment or technology to Israel.

  • Stéphane Bordeleau (View profile)Stéphane Bordeleau

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A coalition of Canadian lawyers and citizens of Palestinian origin sue the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Federal Court , Mélanie Joly, and the Attorney General of Canada. Their goal: force the Trudeau government to suspend all military exports to Israel.

It was the organization Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights which filed the suit Tuesday morning in court. She is supported in her approach by the Palestinian NGO Al-Haq – Law in the Service of Man and by members of the Palestinian community living in Canada.

The plaintiffs argue, in a letter to Minister Joly, that Canadians can no longer ignore the way in which Israel continues its offensive in the Gaza Strip, where 250 Palestinians die every day under the bombs. They also deplore that a humanitarian crisis is being deliberately imposed on the population of the Gaza Strip.

As atrocities committed by Israeli forces multiply, Canadians are increasingly outraged that exports of ' Canadian weapons continue to flow into Israel.

A quote from Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights

The aim of this prosecution, directed specifically against Mélanie Joly, is to prevent her ministry from issuing the necessary permits to export Canadian military equipment or technology to Israel.

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Mélanie Joly, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs

Middle East, the eternal conflict

Consult the complete file

Middle East, the eternal conflict

Consult the complete file


In Canada, it is in fact prohibited to export or import weapons without having received prior authorization from the government. A permit is issued by Global Affairs Canada when authorized to do so.

The law prohibits the Minister to issue an arms export license if there is a serious risk that these weapons could be used to commit or facilitate the commission of serious violations of international or humanitarian law or a violation of international law relating to human rights. This is Canadian law, explains Mr. James Yap, lawyer for the applicants.

It is clear that there are continuing serious violations of international law in this conflict. The law prohibits the export of weapons to Israel in such circumstances.

A quote from Mr. James Yap, lawyer for the applicants

In a letter addressed to Minister Joly at the end of January, the coalition asked the government to put an end to these exports within 14 days. We have received no response to this letter, deplores the CLIHR.

This is why the plaintiffs are addressing the Federal Court today, asking it to cancel all export authorizations to Israel issued by Minister Joly since the attack of October 7, 2023.

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Israel continues to tirelessly fight Hamas in the Gaza Strip, threatened with famine. Pictured are young Palestinians in Gaza City, March 3, 2024.

Despite this, the Department of Foreign Affairs would, according to the suit, continue to approve a record volume of foreign exports. #x27;arms to Israel, in flagrant disregard of international and Canadian law.

The office of Minister Mélanie Joly had not responded to the filing of this lawsuit at the time of writing. Earlier this year, the minister said that Canada had been sending “non-lethal” military equipment to Israel since the start of the conflict.

Italy, Australia and Spain do not, or no longer supply, military items to Israel since the start of the war, while the countries- Bas were ordered by a domestic court to suspend their deliveries of F-35 fighter parts to Israel.

Au Canada, although the government assures that it does not deliver any lethal material to Israeli forces, data from Global Affairs Canada cited by lawyer James Yap reveals that the Trudeau government has authorized at least $28.5 million in new permit to export military equipment to Israel during the first two months of the war.

Which represents more than the total exports of the previous year, underlines Me Yap.

According to Me Yap, so-called non-lethal weapons can be easily integrated into operations that lead to war crimes. An army needs much more than just missiles and bullets to wage war and commit war crimes, he points out.

For lawyer Me Richard Marceau, vice-president of the Advisory Center for Jewish and Israeli Relations – CIJA, this approach by the CLIHR is a major attempt to hijack the Canadian judicial system for political purposes.

As in the past is something that will not succeed, he assures.

According to Me Marceau, the arms trade between Canada and Israel is minor and Canada is far from being one of the main arms exporters to this country. For him, this approach is a waste of time for the Canadian judicial system which is already so behind schedule.

All this media circus , it's a way of drawing the attention of Canadians in a roundabout way to a situation which, I understand, is difficult.

A quote from Me Richard Marceau, vice-president of CIJA

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Several demonstrations took place took place in Canada in recent months to ask Ottawa to stop exporting military equipment to Israel, whether lethal or not. (Archive photo)

Recall that hostilities between Israel and Hamas were triggered on October 7, following a Hamas military incursion into Israeli territory which left 1,200 dead, as well as the taking of 240 civilians hostage. According to Tel Aviv, around 130 of these hostages are still held in the Palestinian enclave.

Israel , for its part, responded by launching a land, air and naval offensive against the Gaza Strip, which has since been the target of bombings and intensive military operations, both in civilian and military areas.

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Palestinians in Gaza inspect the damage and recover items from their homes following Israeli airstrikes on March 4, 2024 in Rafah.

The most recent reports from the Hamas Ministry of Health indicate more than 30,000 deaths among the Palestinian civilian population.

Humanitarian aid, which is delivered in dribs and drabs to the devastated towns, makes living conditions very difficult in the Palestinian territory where the fighting has thrown 1.9 million people onto the roads, or 85% of the population of the enclave, according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

An offensive which has earned Israel a chorus of criticism on the international scene, with some countries even going so far as to accuse the Hebrew State of carrying out a policy of ethnic cleansing, even genocide, in the Palestinian territories. South Africa, in particular, formally accused Israel of carrying out genocide before the UN International Court of Justice.

With the collaboration of Valérie Gamache and Laurence Martin.

  • Stéphane Bordeleau (Consult the profile)Stéphane BordeleauFollow
Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116