POLI 341 – Foreign Policy: Middle East
Lecture 19 – Other International Actors (Canada, UN)
March 19, 2013
- International community – how should it respond?
Canadian Foreign Policy and the Middle East
- Impact in the region?
Have been a shift of Canadian foreign policy towards more
support to Israel and voting along with the US in the UN
Used to play a neutral role between the EU and the US in
regards to Israel-Palestine
o Gulf states
Trade relations are not as tight between Canada the region as it
is with Europe
Geopolitical relations are not as strong as those with the US
- Should Canada seek to play a larger role in the Middle East?
o Prefer neutrality?
Most Canadians prefer a neutral FP (particularly on Israel-
Canada did not participate in the 2003 Iraq War
Part of Canadian identity?
o Domestic considerations?
Movement within Canada from Jewish-Canadians or Arab-
Canadians pushing for different policy
- Is Canada able to play a larger role?
o What leverage does Canada have?
Canada will often support US FP, but does not have a lot of
political leverage itself
o Financial capabilities?
This is where we see the most quantifiable FP to the region
Provides $39 million to Middle East most goes to Palestinian
territories (WB, Gaza)
December 2012 – Canada and Israel sign foreign aid pact
Would work on development projects and relationship
- Future engagement at the state-level? Non-state level?
o Supporting NGOs, UN effort, general non-governmental intervention Israel-Palestine FP Under Harper
- Shift begins under Martin to become more accommodating of Israel
o 2004 International Court of Justice votes on barrier
Canada abstains from the vote
- See more alignment with Israel under Harper and a shift from attempted
- 2006 – Canada was the first state to suspend aid to Palestinian Authority
after the election of Hamas
- 2006 – Support for the US/UK defense of Israel in Lebanon War
o Europeans were very critical of intervention in this
- 2008 – Declaration of Intent with Israel to deal with “common threats” to
o Wanted to share intelligence, address security, common threats to
- 2010 speech – “What the cost” by Harper
o Need to look at domestic politics
Conservative churches that are very pro-Israel
Are there certain Canadian interests in supporting Israel more
- December 2012 – vote against the Palestinian Statehood big in UNGA
o Israel-Canada foreign aid pact
- Domestic and international responses?
o Canada loses bid for non-permanent bid for a seat on the UNSC in
Harper feels that Canada loses this spot because of outspoken
support for Israel
Role of the United Nations
- Contain and limit conflict
o Peacekeeping mission (UNEF following the Suez Crisis, UNIFIL in
Lebanon, UNDOF in the Golan Heights)
Most were set up to be temporary, but have lasted for many
- Help victims of conflict
o Humanitarian aid – UNDP, UNHCR (UN High Commission for
Refugees), UNRWA (deals with specifically Palestinian refugees)
- Create conditions for settlement
o Forum for communication between parties
o Member of the Middle East Quarter (UN, EU, US, Russia)
Main peacekeeping group that is pushing for a peace process in
Israel-Palestine - Security Council – authorize interventions, sanctions, etc.
o Authorize intervention in Libya
o Pressure on the UNSC to take a more active stance against Syria
Difficult for the UNSC to do anything on this issue because of
the veto power of Russia
- General Assembly – politics of diplomacy?
o Palestinian statehood bid
Passes resolutions that are more symbolic in nature
Passes with an overwhelming majority even though it would
not pass in the UNSC
Considered a diplomatic victory rather than an effective
Limitations and Weaknesses
o In General Assembly?
Privileging Palestinian positions over Israeli positions
o In Secu