Canadian Political Leader Favors Moving Canada’s Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem

Joe Clark, leader of the Progressive-Conservative Party, said yesterday that if he becomes Prime Minister after next month’s election, he would move the Canadian Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Clark made his statement in Toronto just before he met with leaders of the Canada-Israel Committee. Clark, leader of Canada’s main opposition party, hopes to unseat the 11-year-old Liberal Party government of Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the election.

“While in Israel last January I told Prime Minister (Menachem) Begin that I did not want Canada to make any changes in policy or practice which might have complicated the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, “Clark said. He said that now that the peace agreement has been achieved, Canada can “take positive initiatives in the Middle East. One such initiative would be the recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with free access to its holy places provided to all faiths.”

He said as “a symbol of this recognition” he “would be prepared” to move the Canadian Embassy “to the western part of Jerusalem.”

Clark stressed that he was not taking sides in Arab-Israeli negotiations on the West Bank, the Palestinians or in efforts to seek a comprehensive peace agreement in the Middle East, but only recognizing Israel’s political and administrative control of the city. “Jerusalem has always been the capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish spirit,” he said.

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