Trudeau says recognition of Palestinian statehood ‘may happen sooner’ than expected

On Friday, the vast majority of UN member states called for the admission of Palestine to the international body—a precursor to recognizing its statehood. However, Canada abstained.

Trudeau says recognition of Palestinian statehood ‘may happen sooner’ than expected
The Canadian Press / Adrian Wyld
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The Trudeau Liberals have flip-flopped again on the two-state solution after abstaining on a UN motion to recognize Palestinian statehood.

Canada previously recognized the Palestinian Authority as the governing body in the West Bank and Gaza, but has yet to recognize Palestine in spite of official policy.

Canada supports a two-state solution to achieve lasting peace in the region.

“We continue to believe in a two-state solution and a credible path should be built to achieve this,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly. “That process cannot delay the creation of a Palestinian state.”

On Friday, the vast majority of UN member states called for the admission of Palestine to the international body—a precursor to recognizing its statehood. However, Canada abstained.

Palestine has had non-member observer state status since 2012, which permits some rights of a full member. However, membership can only be decided upon by the UN Security Council, which has firmly rejected full diplomatic recognition in the past. 

Attempts to reconsider that choice have fallen on deaf ears to date.

Following the vote, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada’s position remains the same in spite of their vote to abstain from the UN motion.

“Canada has decided to change our position from no at the UN to abstaining, reflecting our long-standing position that you could only recognize the state of Palestine as an outcome at the end of a process leading to a two-state solution,” he told reporters.

Joly clarified Canada would recognize that state at the ‘right time.’

“​​Canada is prepared to recognize the State of Palestine at the time most favourable to a lasting peace, not at the last step along the path,” she said.

Trudeau reiterated that recognition “may happen sooner than at the end of the process.”

A more detailed statement from the Canadian government says progress must be made on that path even without Israel.

Weeks following Hamas' terror attacks on October 7, Israel launched a retaliatory military campaign in the Gaza Strip after more than 1,300 people were killed in southern Israel and nearly 240 Israelis and foreign nationals were taken hostage.

Gaza’s health ministry claimed that the conflict has left more than 31,000 people dead and displaced nearly two million more, with the majority of victims either women or children. Those statistics remain disputed.

The statement urged Hamas to release all hostages, lay down its arms and recognize a Palestinian government with no terrorism ties. 

On March 18, a parliamentary motion to recognize Palestinian statehood passed 204 to 118 in a non-binding vote at the House of Commons.

Heather McPherson, the motion’s sponsor and the NDP foreign affairs critic, called on Trudeau to demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and to "officially" recognize Palestine as a sovereign state.

Liberal MPs Andrew Housefather, Ben Carr, and Marco Mendicino, and Independent Kevin Vuong voted with the Conservative caucus against the motion, after governing MPs tabled 14 last-minute amendments.

The first amendment, one of 14 inserted just moments before the scheduled vote, called for an end to "illegal Israeli settlements" and "settler violence" described as obstacles to peace. The motion demanded an end to the so-called "illegal occupation of Palestinian territories." 

Joly informed the House that their approach to the region would not change.

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