Taking Israel to Quebec court

June 17th, 2009 | Posted in Boycott, Canada, Quebec, Prisoners
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    Hour June 11th, 2009, by Stefan Christoff.

    Photo: ActiveStills. Palestinians stand against Israeli apartheid wall.

While Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to expand Israeli colonies in the West Bank, in a key speech in Cairo last week the Obama administration called Israeli settlements a violation of international law and an impediment to peace talks.

The heated international issue will become a local one this month when two Quebec companies involved in Israeli settlement construction on Palestinian lands will face a potential lawsuit in Quebec Superior Court.

The Palestinian village of Bil’in has launched the suit against Green Park International and Green Mount International, both registered in Quebec.

“Israel is occupying and confiscating our land to expand their settlements,” says Mohammed Khatib from Bil’in. “This is not only happening in Bil’in, but throughout the Palestinian territories – again and again the tragic pattern [is repeated]. First Israeli military forces occupy our land, then they exclude us from our land and finally they hand over our land to Israeli settlers who build huge buildings, surrounded and protected by the Israeli army.”

Today, an estimated 300,000 Israeli settlers live in the West Bank and more than 200,000 in East Jerusalem.

In an effort to mobilize public support for the Bil’in lawsuit prior to the first series of hearings in Quebec scheduled for June 22 in Montreal, Israeli lawyer Emily Schaeffer, who represents the
village, and Mohammed Khatib, of Bil’in’s popular committee, are touring 11 cities across Canada in June.

“Israel is stealing our land and this is why we have taken our case to the Canadian courts,” continues Khatib. “In Canada we will try to bring Israel to justice for the crimes that it is committing against us and we need Montreal’s support.”

Khatib and Schaeffer will speak at Concordia University’s De Sève Cinema (1400 De Maisonneuve) on Friday, June 19, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.bilin-village.org

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