Liberals, Tories spar over Middle East as House of Commons returns
OTTAWA — The Conservative party’s foreign affairs critics are accusing the Liberal government of being soft in its support of Israel in the Middle East. The criticism follows a statement from Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion expressing concern over recent violence in Israel and the West Bank. In it, Dion affirms Canada’s longheld position that it would like to see a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, calling Canada a steadfast ally and friend of Israel. But he says Israel’s construction of settlements and the Palestinians’ unilateral pursuit of statehood in international forums are not helpful to building peace. Conservative MPs Tony Clement and Peter Kent faulted Dion for equating the two, and not mentioning the role of Hamas, which Canada has listed as a terrorist organization, in the conflict.