Toronto Star Columnist Accuses Israel Of Planning To Annex “Illegal Israeli” Settlements

July 28, 2023

In a recent July 27 column in the Toronto Star entitled: “Canada’s feeble response gives green light to West Bank annexation,” columnist Linda McQuaig accused the Canadian government of giving a “feeble” response to Israel’s alleged “moves to annex the West Bank” (Judea & Samaria).

McQuaig’s concern is misplaced for several reasons.

Firstly, despite McQuaig’s statement to the contrary, there is no evidence of any looming plans for Israel to “annex” Judea & Samaria. While extending full Israeli sovereignty over the area is undoubtedly a favourable view among many members of Israel’s new government, that is far from equalling an imminent change.

Secondly, and even more importantly, even if Israel did extend full control over Judea & Samaria, it’s argued that this would not be an illegal move, nor an act of land theft against anyone. According to international law professor and scholar Eugene Kontorovich, such an Israeli act would not constitute annexation because no other sovereign country had title to Judea & Samaria.

Furthermore, according to the same international law precedent which gives Israel the right to any of the areas in the Jewish State, the same right extends to the lands of Judea & Samaria. “Because these territories were part of the British Mandate, Israel has as much legal right to them as to Tel Aviv,” Kontorovich argued in 2019.

In her column, McQuaig also made the unsubstantiated claim that “The presence of 700,000 Israeli settlers on Palestinian land — illegal under international law — is a flashpoint for violence.” The presence of Israelis living in their ancient and ancestral homeland is not illegal, but McQuaig’s allegation that their mere presence somehow creates violence is an irresponsible statement.

When Palestinian terrorists massacre innocent Israeli civilians, as they have done so in recent months, including the grotesque April murder of a mother and her two daughters as they were driving in a car on a highway near their home, no external cause, nor dispute over real estate is a justification. Tragically, they were not the only victims of Palestinian terrorism in recent months. Since the start of 2023, dozens of Israeli civilians have been murdered by Palestinian-Arab terrorists, including seven people shot to death outside a Jerusalem synagogue in January.

To these Palestinian terrorists, the very presence of Israelis and Jews, both in Judea & Samaria or in the rest of Israel, marks them as legitimate targets for murder.

Consequently, when McQuaig stated that Israeli civilians are a flashpoint for violence simply by choosing to live in the land of their ancestors – without pointing the blame for said violence on the perpetrators – she is engaging in a remarkable act of victim-blaming.

McQuaig’s column does not focus exclusively on misrepresenting Israel’s legal rights; she also falsely portrays Israel as a trigger-happy warmonger, complaining that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed to protest when Israel “has escalated military raids in recent months, killing at least 130 Palestinians…”

What McQuaig fails to mention is not only why Israel carried out such raids, but against whom and how the overwhelming majority of Palestinian casualties were terrorists and combatants.

For instance, in Israel’s recent counter-terrorism operation, which took place in the Jenin refugee camp in early July, Israel entered the area specifically in order to strike at the infrastructure of Palestinian terrorist groups in the area.

Despite the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) responsibility for overseeing internal security in the area, extremist Islamist groups have operated from there with impunity, and in recent months, an estimated 50 terrorist attacks against Israelis have originated from the Jenin refugee camp. During Israel’s raid, more than 300 IEDs (improvised explosive devices) were discovered by the Israeli military.

During Israel’s counter-terrorism raid, which took place in a densely-populated urban area, and which lasted only about 48 hours, out of the 12 total Palestinians killed in the fighting, according to Israel, there was not a single non-combatant among them.

McQuaig has long been a hostile anti-Israel columnist, having previously called for sanctions against Israel, and arguing that the “pro-Israel lobby” uses antisemitism to stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.

In her most recent column, McQuaig continued this tradition by paying no attention to the frightening reality that Israel faces on a daily basis from Palestinian terrorism, and preferring instead to not only manufacture fearful claims about Israeli actions, but to also erase the country’s right to live in the land it has legal claim to under international law.


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