Palestinian organizers of a protest in Ramallah tossed eggs and shoes at the convoy of Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Sunday. Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside the Foreign Ministry in Ramallah holding signs protesting Baird’s visit to the West Bank. Canada’s Foreign Minister John Baird was met with protests on Sunday when his convoy arrived at the Foreign Ministry in Ramallah. Dozens of Palestinian protesters were awaiting his arrival and pelted his car with eggs and shoes. Baird was in Ramallah to meet with his counterpart, Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Maliki.
Earlier in the day Baird had met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin where he issued a statement reiterating Canada’s support of Israel. In his statement he said, ‘Canada strongly supports Israel’s right to defend itself by itself and its right to live in peace with its neighbors. Canada will fight any efforts internationally to delegitimize the State of Israel, including the disturbing Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement.’
In response to FM Baird’s comments Sunday, Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat released a statement to the press charging Canada with standing ‘on the wrong side of history by blindly supporting the Israeli occupation and its apartheid policies.’
Canada’s foreign policy which supports Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, has placed Canada in a negative light among Palestinians and other Arabs. Baird has stated that the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN was unilateral and counterproductive. Canada also opposes the recent accession of Palestine into the International Criminal Court.
During the fifty day Israeli attack on Gaza last summer, Amnesty International issued an open letter to Foreign Minister Baird for failing to properly condemn the Israeli killing of civilians. The Amnesty International statement read in part: “Canadian policy must reflect unwavering commitment to the fundamental international legal principle of civilian protection and must demonstrate equal concern for both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.”
Following his meeting in Ramallah with FM Maliki, Baird traveled to Jerusalem and met with Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Baird is scheduled to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later today.