Thank you for this opportunity to express our views on the recent trip by Ontario Chiefs of Police to Israel. While Chief of Police Mullan brings back reports of a trip which I am sure was staged in such a way as to hide true Israeli policing policy, I speak to you today as one who personally witnessed Israeli policing policy as actually carried out by both the Israeli police and military forces who currently occupy the State of Palestine.
I personally witnessed both Police and Military personnel firing live rounds in the direction of both Palestinian civilians and International peace activists. People who were unarmed and ranged in age from infants to Elders in their 70’s and older.
While taking part in a peaceful, non-violent demonstration protesting the separation wall. I had an Israeli bullet graze my ear and witnessed a young man who was standing no more than three feet from me get shot in the head and then die at my feet. I saw a thirteen year old Palestinian boy shot off of his bicycle. I saw a Palestinian businessman shoved back into his car while a tear gas grenade was thrown into the car with him and then the doors held closed. This was done by Israeli soldiers who were pol icing the streets on the outskirts of Ramallah.
This is what police policy is like in Palestine. Palestinian Police are routinely kidnapped by Israeli forces and sent to prison without charges being laid and held there indefinitely. Peace activists subjected to the similar treatment. People I personally know told me of their time in an Israeli jail and how they were subjected to beatings and inhumane treatment including the strip searching of females in the presence of male jail guards.
Is this the type of policing that we want in Canada? I think not. Besides, we already have Ontario police carrying out these types of policies right here in Canada. We need only look at Ipperwash and the murder of Dudley George by an OPP officer. After Dudley was shot, OPP used every tactic available to them to delay Dudley’s receiving timely medical treatment up to and including denying access by the ambulance to Dudley. Then his family was prevented by the police from being at his side in the hospital while he lay there dying. Then there was Kanehsetake or Oka as you know it. Here, unarmed children, women and men were fired on by the Surette Du Quebec and the military who were later brought in along with the police preventing the delivery of food and other aid from reaching the community.
We need to prevent these illegal acts and not encourage them by sending our police forces to study tactics that have been condemned by other nations, including Canada, as genocide and war crimes.
I wish to close with a portion of a letter I sent back to Canada just before my return from Palestine.
My sincere prayer is that our work, and this includes all of you, will one day help to bring peace, justice and dignity to the peoples of both Palestine and Israel and that children the world over will no longer have to experience the fear and terror that war and occupation brings with them.
I would like to close this letter with a quote from a children’s book creator named Michael Hague.
The Terror Of Wars
“The right to live free from the terror of wars is one of the most fundamental of all human rights.Wars are tragic human conflicts in which all basic human rights are sacrificed. As centuries of experience should have taught us, wars know no boundaries or limits. It is ultimately innocent individuals on both sides of all armed conflicts who must endure the death, destruction, grief, hunger, pain, suffering, and, above all, the loss of human dignity that wars inevitably create.”