Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty journeyed to the West Bank on Monday to beard the Palestinian lions in their den.
Over lunch with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, then later with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Foreign Minister Riad Maliki, the Ottawa tag-team went out of its way to impress upon the Palestinian leadership that it should abandon its efforts to obtain United Nations recognition and return to the negotiating table with Israel “without preconditions.”
It was chutzpah of the highest order.
Adopting a harder line than any of Canada’s allies, Mr. Baird told Mr. Maliki, then repeated it in front of reporters, that it was “profoundly wrong” to take the case for Palestinian statehood to the United Nations, and it is far preferable to resume negotiations with Israel than insist that Israel halt settlement construction before resuming direct talks.
“Unilateral action by either side is not helpful,” Mr. Baird acknowledged in an apparent reference to new Israeli settlement construction. “But the two sides would be better off talking [to each other] rather than not talking.”
As for Hamas, many of whose members are being held in Israeli and Palestinian prisons, Mr. Baird said, “We have no interest in interacting with Hamas. It is a terrorist organization.”Stand by for claims that Canada is ruled by Zionists as well.
Update: There it is. On HuffPost Canada though.