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Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas)
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

Rhonda Spivak went to Deheishe Palestinian Refugee Camp in Bethlehem on August 11, 2010 and photographed this mural of a female suicide bomber who killed two people in Jerusalem in a terrorist attack. The mural is on an UNWRA school near the entrance to the camp. This was shown to Minister Kent in the interview.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.

The mural of the suicide bomber which glorifies terrorism in the previous photo is on a wall which is part of an UNWRA school. The UN sign can be seen on the school.
Photo by Rhonda Spivak.



By Rhonda Spivak, October 19, 2010 reposted April 26, 2011

Thornhill MP Peter Kent, Canadian Minister of State of  Foreign Affairs (Americas), who was recently in Israel on an eight-day mission, says when he met with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister al -Malki in Ramallah he raised the issue of official PA incitement  and honouring of terrorists.

In a one on one interview when he was recently in Winnipeg on October 8, Kent told the Winnipeg Jewish Review  he “made the point very strongly’ to Minister Al Malki  that “Palestinian  Authority   official media continues to incite and encourage martyrdom and terrorism and deny the right of Israel to exist.”

Kent said “I made a protest to him [Foreign Minister al- Malki] about the naming of squares and streets in honour of martyrs and said that the largest single challenge to peace is the acceptance of Israel, the recognition of Israel and the willingness to exist side by side in peace with Israel that has security and guarantees of non aggression…He listened. He accepted that...’
In the interview, this reporter showed Kent a photo that was taken by on her recent visit this summer to Deheishe Refugee Camp in Bethlehem, in the Palestinian Authority.  Near the entrance of the refugee camp  there is a very large mural on a school run by UNRWA [United Nations Relief and Works Agency] of an 18 year old  female suicide bomber, Ayat al-Akhras,  a graduate of the UNWRA school, who blew herself up at a Jerusalem supermarket in  2002, murdering two Israelis.

On seeing the photo, Kent said:”.. As you know, the official media of the Palestinian Authority has many leaders and the sorts of folks putting up this … inciteful terororist art…[seen in the photo] are obviously not listening  to the words that President Abbas spoke in Washington [about ending incitement] or that Foreign Minister Al Malki spoke to me in  Ramallah.”

Kent continued,“ I made the point to Foreign Minister Al Malki that they[the PA] need to be consistent with the domestic population and… not just [be] sending two messages, one to the international community and one domestically…I made that clear.”

On the subject of   UNWRA employees, Kent said on his visit he spoke with UNWRA officials and employees of NGO’s he had contact with, “reminding them…that they shouldn’t take sides [in the conflict] first of all… and that they shouldn’t take sides with groups that encourage  terror.”

Prior to entering politics, Kent was a Deputy Editor of Global Television News, a Canadian Network. He has previously worked as a news editor, producer, foreign correspondent and news anchorman on Canadian and American television networks.

He told the Winnipeg Jewish Review, “I am a fan of the Palestinian Media Watch []  ... I think that it [Palestinian Media Watch] shows the duplicity of the messages [between what the PA tells the international community and their own domestic community].”

Regarding media bias, Kent, who was the said, “I’m a former director of Honest Reporting Canada …”It’s interesting how sometimes the Canadian media sometimes innocently and also other times seems to show deliberate bias in the way they cover  the Middle East and developments in the Middle East.’


Kent, who was in Israel during the opening of the latest peace talks in Washington [which have since been suspended], told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that when he was in Ramallah he was “very delighted to see the leadership that Canada is playing with regards to institution building particularly in the areas of justice and in helping to create and train the new national security police force…Some 300 million dollars were dedicated to that and we are well into that program.” 

Kent noted that while Canada is participating with the United States the United Kingdom and other in training the PA security force, Canada has “the lead presence in terms of total [number of] personnel on the ground in the Palestinian Authority”

“I visited …the [first] new joint operations centre, the first one actually that has been set Ramallah but eventually there will be in each of the major districts .. a joint operation centre which will coordinate security response to threats and incidents in the West Bank and with Israel and Israeli security forces. The Israeli government for its part has also expressed approval of the way this work is going.

“Basically what we’re doing is trying to prepare the Palestinian Authority  for that day, however long off it may seem- however illusive the eventual  peace agreement might seem- to help prepare their institutions, to govern a democratic secure neighborly state with Israel....There’s a long way to go but we were very encouraged.” 

Kent’s visit also coincided with the two terror attacks in the West Bank

He said, “By all accounts, “from the Canadians on the ground and from the Palestinian Authority officers and from the Israelis there was an indication that there was co-ordination. The attacks were tragic but I made the point that Canada recognized that the Terror attacks claimed by Hamas   are as much of an attack on the peace seeking people of the Palestinian Authority as against the Israeli victims.”

When questioned by the Winnipeg Jewish Review about the  PA’s true commitment to reigning in terror , given their ongoing daily negotiations to try to  reconcile with the  terrorist group Hamas and form a unity Palestinian government, Kent responded, “It’s a big challenge.”

He continued, “ Palestinians are divided at the moment. Hamas in the West Bank is a counter force to the peace talks...doesn’t want the peace talks to go ahead... Despite the reasons for skepticism, we can’t just walk away from it [the peace talks...]… We’re aware of the realities. We are aware of the challenges and that unfilled expectations this time will only delay the ultimate goal and make it more difficult the next time...But we can’t not try. “

Kent said that Canada is supportive of peace talks and “We caution both sides to avoid unilateral actions that will threaten the direct talks.” He said he told Al Malki, who raised the issue of Israeli settlements, that that issue is “to be resolved by negotiation.”


Although Kent met with Al-Malki in Ramallah, he said the focus of his trip was to talk about  Canada’s Americas Policy  with Israel in both areas where “we have[shared] interests and shared concerns about  security.”

During his trip to Israel, Kent discussed Canada and Israel’s involvement with Latin America countries, with Israeli President Shimon Peres, Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Danny Ayalon. 

Kent told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that when he met with Ayalon, the two spoke of  “ways we could work together in development assistance in places like Haiti and elsewhere in the Americas ….Israel was among the first responders [in Haiti]… We are exploring ways of perhaps cooperating on continuing projects as the  reconstruction effort really gets underway to rebuild Haiti.”

In Venezuela, Israeli interests have been represented by the Canadian Embassy in Caracas since President Hugo Chavez expelled Israeli diplomats from the country in early 2009 and  there have been a  series of  anti-Semitic attacks by the state media.

 Kent noted that “ Canada [since 1973] has also represented Israel’s interests in Cuba through its embassy in Havana.  There is a 1,500-member Jewish community in Cuba and as Kent said “It’s now possible for Cuban Jews to make aliyah.” 

Canada and Israel are also working together to pressure the government of Argentina to make reparations for the botched investigation of the 1992 bombing of the Israeli Embassy in Buenos Aires. 

Kent said Canadian and Israel also have are concerned about   involvement of ‘Latin American  states with Iran.” Kent said his trip was an opportunity to talk about how to enforce UN Security Council Resolution 1929 the resolution that was adopted in June involving sanctions against Iran.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.