31 May, 2023

Legal brief filed to bar former Israeli PM Naftali Bennet from Canada


Legal brief filed to bar former Israeli PM Naftali Bennet from Canada

Lawyers have filed a complaint on behalf ofa Palestinian-Canadian and four Canadian organizations seeking to have the government declare former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett inadmissible to Canada before he is set to speak in Toronto on June 14. As lawyers Shane Martínez and Nicholas Pope have laid out in the complaint Bennett should be denied entry to Canada pursuant to sections 35(1)(a) and (b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

As put forth in the complaint filed on Tuesday, May 29th, 2023, “The federal government has “domestic and international legal obligations to exclude … perpetrators of atrocities.” To fulfil these objectives it has created “a legislative framework to prevent or deter entry, and remove individuals who have committed or are complicit in crimes against humanity, war crimes, or genocide.”

Bennett has been deeply involved in the development of illegal Israeli settlements in the Palestinian West Bank. According to a Peace Now report, the Bennett government significantly increased the development of illegal settlements on Palestinian land. The report also refers to Bennett’s support for the eviction of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem in favor of establishing illegal settler housing units there.

Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied since 1967 (the Golan Heights, the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). In fact, according to Canadian policy, the United Nations and international law, illegal Israeli settlements are war crimes.

Bennett is also alleged to have a history of violence and racism. He is accused of being involved in events leading to the massacre of 102 Lebanese citizens at Qana in 1996 and has openly called for the extrajudicial killing of Palestinians involved in confrontations with Israeli forces. It has been reported that when National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror responded by saying “this is not legal,” Bennett replied, “I have killed lots of Arabs in my life – and there is no problem with that.”

The policy of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada states that “persons who have committed or been complicit in the commission of a war crime, a crime against humanity, genocide or any other reprehensible act, regardless of when or where these crimes occurred, are not welcome in Canada.” On that basis, Palestinian-Canadian complainant Khaled Mouammar and the organizations Just Peace Advocates, Canadian Foreign Policy Institute, Palestinian and Jewish Unity and Canada Palestine Association (Vancouver) have called upon the government of Canada to uphold the rule of law and bar Naftali Bennet from entering Canada.


For information:

Shane Martínez, (647) 717-8111, shane@martinezlaw.ca

Nicholas Pope, 613-656-6917, npope@hameedlaw.ca

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