Canada votes for Palestinian self-determination in landmark policy switch
Canada has been praised for a switch in policy on Palestine after voting in favour of a United Nations resolution endorsing Palestinian "right to self determination".
In an immediate response to the US' declaration that it considers Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land "legal", Canada backed a resolution was adopted in support of Palestine on Tuesday during a session of the Third Committee of the UN General Assembly.
Canada's vote marks a serious departure for Canada, which has declined to support substantially the same resolution through 14 consecutive votes since 2006.
Commenting on the background of the vote, an official at Global Affairs Canada said the sudden change in stance sends a message that Canada does not agree with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's almost universally condemned assertion on Monday that Israeli settlements in Palestine are "not, per se, inconsistent with international law".
Canada was among a total of 165 states voted in favor of the resolution. Only five voted against, and nine abstained from voting.
Half-a-century of illegal occupation
Israel has occupied the West Bank illegally since 1967, and commits various abuses against Palestinian civilians, human rights groups say.
More than 600,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, in constructions considered illegal under international law.
The Oslo agreement of 1995 divided the occupied West Bank into three: Area A, Area B and Area C.
Area A is under the administrative and security control of the Palestinian Authority (PA). Area B's administration is controlled by the Palestinian Authority, with Israel controlling security. Area C is under full administrative and security control of Israel.
Along with stealing land, Israeli soldiers and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories in various ways.
Israeli forces and settlers routinely harass Palestinians in the occupied territories through harming and killing civilians, demolishing homes, poisoning livestock, vandalising property and other forms of violence.
Israel often forces Palestinians to demolish their own homes under the pretext of not having a building permits.
Applications for building permits often take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".