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18 The Driveway, Ottawa, Ontario, K2P 1C6

Phone: 1-613-736-0053 - Fax: 1-613-736-0535- palestinegd@gmail.com


Palestinian General Delegation

Ottawa- Canada

For Immediate Release
RE: Israeli Ambassador Attempts to Censor Artist Rehab Nazzal at Ottawa City Hall
May 23
, 2014 Ottawa ON

The Palestinian General Delegation condemns Israels assault on Canadian free speech by
attempting to censor a local art exhibit by a Canadian artist depicting the brutal treatment of
Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
According to the Israeli human rights organization BTselem, there are approximately 194
Palestinian minors held in Israeli prisons. A report last year by UNICEF noted that the ill-
treatment of Palestinian minors held within the Israeli military detention system is widespread
systematic and institutionalized.
191 Palestinians are currently being held without charge or trial indefinitely in what is
euphemistically known as administrative detention. Palestinians are arbitrarily arrested and
detained on a daily basis for the crime of being an Arab in their ancestral land. In a 2011
review, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz found that Israeli military courts have a 99 per cent
conviction rate for Palestinians. Israel has imprisoned 800,000 Palestinians since conquering
the West Bank and Gaza in 1967; almost a quarter of the entire Palestinian population has been
through the Israeli prison system.
Why? Palestinians do not meet the ethnic or religious qualifications to be treated as equals in a
land Israel refuses to share on an equal basis with Palestinians. Israels arrest and detention
policies are the centrepiece of a racist agenda unworthy of a land that is holy to Jews, Christians
and Muslims alike.
That the Israeli Ambassador should stoop to the level of interfering in a local exhibit that dares
to portray the treatment faced by Palestinians in Israeli prisons is perhaps unsurprising. We
encourage everyone to actually see the exhibit before judging it.
The Palestinian General Delegation applauds the brave decision by Ottawa City Hall to reject
Israeli censorship and uphold Canada free speech laws.
Instead of turning Ottawa City Hall into a political football, the Israeli Ambassador ought to
read up on Canadian policy, which clearly states that,
Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967 (the Golan
Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip). The Fourth Geneva Convention applies in
the occupied territories and establishes Israel's obligations as an occupying power, in particular with
respect to the humane treatment of the inhabitants of the occupied territories. As referred to in UN
Security Council Resolutions 446 and 465, Israeli settlements in the occupied territories are a violation of
the Fourth Geneva Convention. The settlements also constitute a serious obstacle to achieving a
comprehensive, just and lasting peace.