Prime Minister Stephen Harper rallied to the side of Israel on Wednesday, saying the best road for peace in the Middle East lies through negotiations between that country and the Palestinians.
Harper made his move in a meeting at the United Nations with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Under Harper’s leadership, Canada has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in recent years. And on Wednesday, Harper publicly reinforced that relationship with a critically timed message of support.
The international community is gripped this week with debate over the Palestinian Authority’s bid for statehood at the UN.
Harper has categorically stated in recent days that Canada will oppose the “unilateral” effort by the Palestinians at the UN — outside of long-stalled peace talks with Israel — because it could actually hamper hopes for peace in the region.
He said that Israel and Canada have a lot in common — “the same heart, the same values.”
“And that I say with great appreciation — for your stance, for your conviction, for your friendship,” said Netanyahu.
“And I share, too, your desire to resume direct negotiations for peace and get on with it. Because the only way we can finish peace negotiations is by beginning peace negotiations. And I know that we’ll have your support in our quest for peace and security.”
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