Faced with significant pressure, Harper's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has affirmed that Canada does, in fact, support Obama's position of using the 1967 borders with land swaps as a basis for a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine. In fact, he says it is "obvious" that Canada does. Forgive me, sir, but that was hardly obvious given the events of the last couple days.
As I wrote a few days ago, after Obama's speech, which was an unprecedented move for a US president to acknowledge the 1967 borders basis, Harper refused to answer report questions as to whether Canada would also endorse this position. Shortly afterwards, Canada blocked the use of this language from the G8 summit becoming the only dissenter to that position at the summit.
I am glad that Canada apparently is endorsing the de facto position of the rest of the world and what has been the basis for negotiations for decades even if certain political leaders have not officially recognized the rhetoric. However, this funny little rhetorical game that has been played over the last couple weeks is sadly disingenuous and at the end of the day regardless of what Canada's official position is the result form that G8 summit still retains the result of Canada's influence against this position.
It should be noted that in my previous post I cited Haaretz's claim that this issue was brought up in a phone call between Benjamin Netanyahu and Stephen Harper. The PMO has now said this topic was not discussed. Of course, it hardly matters. Both Harper's ideological position on the issue and the effect of indirect lobbying pressures - even if it isn't direct as Haaretz claimed - are well documented.
As a side note, this little saga provides a pretty good example of the dangers of a Prime Minister who is very, very distant with the press. After the G8 summit, Harper was willing to release a single sentence and was unwilling to say anything at all after Obama's speech. It becomes often quite murky to ascertain precisely what Harper, and by extension Canada's official position, actually is on various matters, particularly when they are of a rhetorical and symbolic nature such as this one.
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