After coming under attack by a Palestinian mob that threw eggs and shoes at him, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird met with Israel’s leadership who thanked him for his strong support.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird on Monday, as part of a series of high level meetings with officials in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Baird is holding before returning to Canada on January 20th.
Netanyahu welcomed Baird as a close friend, saying “I welcome you back to Jerusalem as a great champion of peace and security and as a great champion of the truth. You have consistently demonstrated a willingness to stand up for what is right and to oppose what is wrong. And this is deeply valued by the citizens of Israel and many citizens of the free countries around the world.”
Netanyahu related to the recent wave of Islamic terror the West was experiencing, stating that “we’re all engaged in a great battle against the terrorism of militant Islam. Israel has been continually attacked by this scourge and so has Canada recently.”
To fight Islamic terror, Netanyahu said “we need clarity and courage. Canada has both. You know who is the aggressor; you know who is the defender. You know that Israel legitimately defends itself against the war crimes of Hamas and other terrorist groups.”
Regarding the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) decision to launch a probe about alleged Israeli war crimes, Netanyahu told Baird that Canada knows “that it’s a travesty of justice to haul Israel to the dock in The Hague, and you know that the entire system of international law could unravel because of this travesty.”
Netanyahu pledged that Israel “will not have its hand tied by a politicized ICC. We will fight terrorism on every front and we will defend our people against any threat as any democracy must.”
Baird responded by thanking Netanyahu in Hebrew: “Todah Rabah, thank you very much, Prime Minister, for your friendship, for your leadership.”
Baird shared that he knew Netanyahu’s father had a great influence on his life and his political life. “My grandfather left Canada in 1943 to fight in Europe. He stayed in the Canadian forces for 25 years after the end of the war.” Baird added, “The great struggles of his generation were fighting fascism and then in the Canadian forces during the Cold War fighting communism.” Baird believes the current generation’s great struggle is against terrorism, “and far too often the State of Israel and the Jewish people around the world are on the front lines of that struggle,” he pointed out.
“And as I’ve said before, Canada doesn’t stand behind Israel; we stand shoulder-to-shoulder with it,” Baird declared.
Baird Attacked by Palestinians
On Sunday Baird met with Palestinian Authority (PA) Foreign Minister Riad Maliki in Ramallah. As Baird exited the meeting his convoy was assaulted by an angry Palestinian mob that threw eggs and shoes at the convoy, shouting that he was not welcome because of his support for Israel.
Palestinian security forces had to hold the demonstration back from physically assaulting the Canadian foreign minister.
The protesters carried placards that read: “Canada supports terrorism,” “You are not welcome” and “Baird does not represent the Canadian people.” Other protesters expressed outrage at Maliki’s agreement to meet with Baird. “Dr. Maliki, why are you welcoming this apartheid lover?” read one placard, The Jerusalem Post reports.
The protest was organized by members of Fatah’s Youth Movement, who last Friday called on the PA leadership to boycott the Canadian guest.
Canada and Israel Have a ‘Rock Solid’ Relationship
Baird left the Palestinian mayhem to meet President Reuven Rivlin at his residence. Rivlin went out to meet Baird at his vehicle, and welcomed him warmly, having heard reports of the violent protest against his convoy in Ramallah.
Rivlin addressed the ICC’s decision, saying it was a “deeply ironic” decision that “awards terror, and amounts to blasphemy against international law.”
Rivlin stressed that Israel is committed to the highest standards of international law. However, “terrorist organizations are not held accountable, and have a win-win situation, whether by terrorizing Israel’s citizens, or making claims against Israel when it defends its citizens,” Rivlin pointed out
Baird lauded Israel and Canada’s shared values, which made their relationship “rock solid.”
“In Canada, had you had 10,000 rockets fired at civilian targets, the Canadian people would have had one simple expectation from their government – to make it stop. States have not just the right, but the obligation to protect their people,” Baird stressed.
Baird added that “in the court of international opinion, Israel already has one hand tied firmly behind its back,” and vowed Canada will not allow the international community “to tie the other hand as well.”
Baird held further meetings with Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, during which the winners of the Grand Challenges Israel 2014 Awards were announced.
Baird declared that “The friendship between Canada and Israel is the foundation for increasing dynamic partnerships, partnership in diplomacy and government but also a partnership in innovation, science, business and cultural ties.”