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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh rises during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on March 19.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

It was likely no accident of history that Hamas unleashed its murderous Oct. 7 assault on Israel only days after the world marked the 30th anniversary of the first Oslo Accord, which laid out a pathway for the creation of a Palestinian state.

The main dividing line between Hamas and its Fatah rivals had always been over how to achieve Palestinian statehood. In signing onto Oslo, then-Fatah leader Yasser Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization committed to a peace process involving a negotiated settlement for the creation of a Palestinian state, with security guarantees for Israel.

Hamas never bought into that idea and, through violence, it had long sought to undermine it.

As an Islamist militant organization devoted to Israel’s destruction, Hamas always believed that only armed struggle could bring about the existence of a Palestinian state. On Oct. 7, it chose the murder, rape and abduction of Israeli civilians as means to political ends, surely knowing its actions would unleash the worst wave of violence to hit Gaza in at least five decades.

For this reason alone, it should be clear to anyone who truly believes in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that now would be precisely the wrong moment to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state. That would send a signal to Hamas and terrorists everywhere that violence pays, and it would sabotage hopes of ever reviving the peace process that Oslo began.

The best that could be said about the New Democratic Party’s motion calling for Canada’s official recognition of a Palestinian state, which was the subject of heated debate this week in the House of Commons, is that it was both well-meaning and naive. Recognizing Palestine would do nothing to alleviate the suffering and death in Gaza or deter Israel from pursuing its goal of eradicating Hamas despite the incalculable destruction its efforts to do so have wrought.

Yet, the motion also confirmed the re-ascendency of an anti-Israel strain within the NDP that former leader Tom Mulcair had sought to purge, and which appears willing to give succour to certain apologists – unwitting or otherwise – for Hamas. It was not pretty to watch.

“I’m not going to lie. I wish that I could have delivered to them statehood for Palestinian people,” Heather McPherson, NDP foreign affairs critic and sponsor of the motion, told the Toronto Star after greeting keffiyeh-clad pro-Palestinian activists in the Commons public gallery. “I can never understand why Canada’s position can be a two-state solution without recognition of a state.”

Ms. McPherson needs a history lesson. A primer in international relations would not hurt either. Recognition of a Palestinian state prior to negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians would be contrary to the spirit and letter of the Oslo Accords, which remain the best (no matter how remote) chance for peace in the region. Right-wing Israeli politicians, who oppose Palestinian statehood, would seize on the move as proof that the peace process is stacked against Israel.

“Now is the time to recognize Palestine,” Ms. McPherson insisted as she tabled her motion, adding that the United States and Britain “have both signalled that they are looking at ways to formally recognize the state of Palestine,” while Spain is moving in the same direction. “It is beyond time for Canada to join with like-minded states and move this forward.”

But neither the U.S. nor Britain are poised to recognize Palestinian statehood as long as the war in Gaza continues. Reports that U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been exploring such a move underscore Washington’s aim to create the conditions for a postwar peace process in which Arab countries, led by Saudi Arabia, would normalize relations with Israel. Spain’s Socialist government, meanwhile, depends on support from the far-left pro-Palestinian Sumar party to survive. Domestic politics are at play there.

In the end, Liberal Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly succeeded in persuading NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Ms. McPherson to water down the motion, which was amended to instead call on the government to “actively pursue the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East, including towards the establishment of the State of Palestine as part of a negotiated two-state solution.”

In other words, never mind.

As if that were possible now. Ms. McPherson and her NDP cohorts made a spectacle of Canada’s Parliament – even by the admittedly low standards for debate in the House of Commons. Ms. Joly and the Liberals bent over backward to avoid having to vote against the motion instead of opposing it on principle, as they should have, and they went along with wording on an arms embargo on Israel that, wink-wink, likely does not mean what you might think it means.

The whole incident would be rather forgettable – were it not for the rancour it created.

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