A number of Canadian media outlets, including the Ottawa Citizen , London Free Press, CTV News, and Rabble.ca, have covered the shooting of Palestinian-Canadian artist, researcher and PhD student Rehab Nazzal by an Israeli occupation military sniper in Bethlehem, in the West Bank of Palestine, as she photographed a “skunk” truck spraying noxious substances.
Despite the public attention to the shooting of Nazzal by military occupation forces, the Canadian government has remained silent. The Canadian state has long been deeply allied with and supportive of the Zionist movement and the Israeli state.
Grassroots and community organizations like Independent Jewish Voices and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East are calling for action and denunciation of Israel’s use of illegal weapons against civilians, as represented by Nazzal’s case.
“We call on the Canadian Foreign Minister and the Canadian Ambassador to Israel to publicly condemn Israel’s shooting of a Canadian citizen and to demand that Israel stop using violence and prohibited weapons against unarmed civilians.
In the spirit of your mandate from Prime Minister Trudeau, we expect Canada to voice its strong opposition to criminal or illegal acts by any state, particularly when those acts target innocent civilians, like Canadian Rehab Nazzal.
Honourable Stéphane Dion and Ambassador Vivian Bercovici,
On December 11, Rehab Nazzal, a Canadian citizen and a doctoral candidate at the University of Western Ontario’s Visual Arts department, was shot in the leg while in Bethlehem. She is in the West Bank conducting research for her doctoral thesis and teaching at a local university. At the exact time of the shooting she was documenting a “skunk” weapon, a tank used by the Israeli military to spray a foul-smelling mist as a form of crowd control.
Nazzal states that she “was alone, with no clashes, no stone throwers, absolutely no one around me, and yet I was intentionally shot by a sniper. This was not an accident.” Examination at the hospital indicated that a bullet had entered and exited Nazzal’s leg. The bullet was identified as being .22 calibre which, according to the Israeli human rights organization B’tselem, is a type of ammunition that is prohibited for live fire against unarmed civilians.
In direct contravention of international law, the Israeli military consistently uses live ammunition against unarmed protesters and even non-protesters (such as Nazzal), the targeting of photojournalists, attacking of ambulances, executing youth in the streets and leaving the injured to bleed to death while preventing paramedics from reaching them, and Israeli soldiers disguised as Palestinians to infiltrate and even kill suspected protesters. These illegal practices cannot be allowed to continue without comment in the strongest possible terms.
The new Liberal government has indicated a new era for Canada’s foreign policy. The recent mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau to the Honourable Stéphane Dion stated that :
“As Minister of Foreign Affairs, your overarching goal will be to restore constructive Canadian leadership in the world and to advance Canada’s interests. This renewed leadership will serve our security and economic interests, but it will also support the deeply held Canadian desire to make a real and valuable contribution to a more peaceful and prosperous world.”
In the spirit of your mandate , we expect Canada to voice its strong opposition to criminal or illegal acts by any state, particularly when those acts target innocent civilians, like Canadian Rehab Nazzal.
We call on you, as the Canadian Foreign Minister and as the Canadian Ambassador to Israel, to publicly condemn Israel’s shooting of a Canadian citizen and to demand that Israel stop using prohibited weapons against unarmed civilians and cease violence targeting paramedics, journalists and photojournalists.”