Tuesday, June 16, 2009 | Categories: Episodes
It's Tuesday, June 16th.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he's open to the creation of a Palestinian State, but only if it is demilitarized, does not control its own airspace and doesn't try to stop the on-going growth of Israeli settlements.
Currently, He'd also like it to be located in Jordan.
This is The Current.
We started this segment with a clip of Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaking in the House of Commons a year ago ... right after he delivered a historic and long-awaited apology to Canada's aboriginal peoples.
At the time, there were high hopes that the Indian Residential Schools Truth and Reconciliation Commission would continue the difficult job of chronicling survivors' stories and reconciling people from opposite ends of a deeply troubled past.
But last fall, the commission ground to a halt with the resignation of its chair, Justice Harry Laforme. Now, the commission has essentially started over again with a new chair and two new commissioners. Justice Murray Sinclair was appointed as the new chair last week and he joined us from Thompson, Manitoba.
For a brief time, the streets of Tehran became a battleground yesterday. Hundreds of thousands of Iranians crowded together to protest the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. And pro-government forces fought back, allegedly firing into a crowd of demonstrators, killing seven of them and wounding several more.
And thirty years after an uprising that drove out the Shah and ushered in an Islamic Revolution, the streets of Tehran once again echoed with the ominous and copycat chants of "Death to The Dictator". But now, the chants are directed at President Ahmadinejad and the governing Guardian Council ... the heirs to that revolution.
This morning, we wanted to introduce three people who have been part of those protests in Tehran. The first is Nasreen. She is a 35-year-old elementary school teacher and mother. And we withholded her last name at her request.
Ella has been protesting too. She's a 25-year-old Iranian woman who works for an American corporation in Tehran. Again, we have withheld her last name at her request. Ella speaks English. But we have voiced-over what she told us because of the poor quality of the telephone line.
And Jalil is a 41-year-old father and self-employed business man. He too, was part of the demonstrations. And he says he was attacked by police.
Our thanks to Vancouver-based filmaker Briskkay Ahmed who spoke with those people yesterday.
Tehran isn't the only place where people are protesting the election results. Several cities in Iran have seen demonstrators. Expatriate Iranians and others have gathered in force in Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Washington, London, Paris, Lisbon and Florence. Many believe the election was rigged.
For their thoughts on how Iranian-Canadians see the situation, we were joined by two people. Payam Akhavan is a professor of Law at McGill University. He was in Montreal. And Lily Pourzand is an Iranian-Canadian human rights activist who has lived in Canada for the last ten years. She was in Toronto.
Bil'in Canadian Lawsuit - Plaintiffs
We started this segment with a clip of Mohammad Khatib. And as he says, he lives in Bil'in. It's a small Palestinian farming village in the West Bank ... just west of Ramallah. About 1,700 people live there. And they say they are losing their land, watching as it is taken over by Israeli settlements or cut off from them by the construction of what Israel calls a security fence and what Palestinians say is a wall. From the window of his home, Mohammad Khatib can see new apartment buildings going up. We aired a clip.
What Mohammad Khatib and some of the village's other residents decided to do is sue the two companies developing those apartment buildings. And since they're both Canadian companies based in Montreal, that means filing the lawsuit in a Canadian court. The hearings are expected to begin next week.
Mohammad Khatib is a member of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and the Settlements. He lives in Bil'in, but he was in Ottawa this morning. Emily Schaeffer is an Israeli lawyer representing the village of Bil'in. She was in Ottawa as well.
Bil'in Canadian Lawsuit - Morgan
The Current requested an interview with Ronald Levy, the lawyer representing Green Mount and Green Park International. He said he would not discuss the case until after the hearing.
Ed Morgan has been watching this case with great interest. He is a Professor of International and Constitutional Law at the University of Toronto. He is also the Past President of the Canadian Jewish Congress and he was in Toronto.
Bil'in Canadian Lawsuit - Brynen
For a sense of the political context that surrounds this lawsuit, we were joined by Rex Brynen. He is a Professor of Political Science at McGill University. He specializes in the politics of the Middle East and he was in Montreal.