Canadian FM: Palestinians Made a 'Huge Mistake' With ICC Bid

Canada would not stay silent with Israel under fire, John Baird said.

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Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (R) shakes hand with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird (L) at the start of their meeting at the presidential compound in Jerusalem on January 18, 2015.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin (R) shakes hand with Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird (L) at the start of their meeting at the presidential compound in Jerusalem on January 18, 2015.Credit: AFP

Canada's foreign minister says the Palestinians "made a huge mistake" by pursuing war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

John Baird met Monday with Israeli officials as part of his five-day visit to the region. Prior to meeting Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Baird said the Palestinians crossed a "red line" and that he "communicated that in no uncertain terms" in his meetings with Palestinian leaders.

Canada has been one of only a few Western countries to stand by Israel as it has come under fierce international criticism over deadlocked negotiations with the Palestinians, the recent Gaza war and settlement construction. It has also vocally opposed the Palestinians' attempts to reach statehood without direct negotiations with Israel.

Baird said Canada would not stay silent with Israel under fire.

Dozens of Palestinian protesters hurled eggs and shoes at the Baird convoy when visiting Ramallah on Sunday.

Baird was in the West Bank for a meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki.

Protesters also held signs reading: "Baird you are not welcome in Palestine." Activists from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party earlier called for a boycott of Baird because of Canada's perceived pro-Israel stance.

Baird is in the region for five days of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials.

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