Canada and Australia said that they would not attend a Geneva Convention conference hosted by Switzerland on Israeli treatment of Palestinians, which has been charged with bias against Israel.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird denounced the conference in strong terms:
“Canada is deeply disappointed by the convening of this one-sided and politicized conference, which serves only to single out one country, Israel, for criticism. Canada has complete faith in the strength of the rule of law in Israel, and we believe the Israelis are capable of investigating matters surrounding the events that took place in Gaza in the summer of 2014.”
“Such a misguided approach will neither serve the cause of peace nor bring the parties closer to a negotiated settlement.”
The conference on Wednesday was held to discuss the Fourth Geneva Convention and the situation in the Palestinian areas, despite American and Israeli pressure to cancel it.
Last week, Israel said that the decision to convene the conference brought into question Bern’s historic neutrality.
Australia’s ambassador to Israel Dave Sharma said Tuesday night that his country would also stay away from the conference.
Senior Israeli officials told Haaretz last week that they expected the U.S. to boycott the summit.
The Foreign Ministry called it “a political move whose sole aim is to utilize the important stage of the Geneva Conventions for the sake of denigrating Israel.