Is the Harper government’s policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict the right one?

There's no subtlety when it comes to the Harper government's position on Israel.

Speaking at the opening of the 12th annual Herzliya Conference on Monday, Foreign Minister John Baird blasted the Palestinian leadership calling on them to return to peace negotiations without conditions, to give up on their bid for recognition as a sovereign state by the UN, and accept Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

Baird added that, "whether it is rockets raining down on Israeli schools, or the constant barrage of rhetorical demonization, double standards and delegitimization, Israel is under attack."

"Clearly, Baird is working to entrench Canada as one of the world's most unbending supporters of the Israeli government," noted MacLeans Magazine's Alex Ballingall.

According to poll results published in the Globe and Mail, nearly half of all Canadians agree with the Harper government's policy in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The poll, conducted by Environics Research Group, found that 48 per cent of those surveyed said the government has struck "the right balance," while only 23 per cent said Canada's policy was "too pro-Israel."

There are some dissenting voices.

Journalist Michael Harris says the government's decision to pick a side in this dispute means Canada will be left on the sidelines in future peace negotiations.

"The Harper government's policy on the Middle East is uninformed and crassly political," he wrote for iPolitics.

"In Ottawa's one-sided world, there is no UN Resolution 232; no human catastrophe of millions confined to refugee camps for decades; no international right of return; no excessive force or collective punishment against a civilian population; no such thing as Arab East-Jerusalem; no illegal settlements; no Janine refugee camp atrocity; no brutal assault on Lebanon; no Gaza."

Last September, Paul Heinbecker, Canada's former ambassador to the UN penned a column questioning Canada's policy of backing Israel "to the hilt."

"German Chancellor Angela Merkel has in the past accused [Israeli Prime Minister]Benjamin Netanyahu of not having 'made a single step to advance peace,'" Heinbecker wrote.

"Former Bush and Obama defense secretary Robert Gates described Netanyahu as ungrateful and endangering Israel by refusing to grapple with its growing isolation.Former U.S. president Bill Clinton has said that the Netanyahu government has received all of the assurances previous Israeli governments said they wanted but now won't accept those terms to make peace."

And, as you might imagine, the Palestinian community in Canada disagrees with the Harper government's staunch support of Israel.

"Regrettably, Mr. Baird is an Israeli mouthpiece," Hanna Kawas, Chairperson of the Vancouver branch of the Canada Palestinian Association told Yahoo! Canada News.

"Would he have asked Kuwait to sit with Iraq without preconditions to negotiate the Iraqi withdrawal from Kuwait? Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands was allowed to continue for the past forty four years with the support of western governments including successive US and Canadian governments."