Are you concerned about how Canada and/or other levels of government are responding to Israel’s ongoing attacks on Gaza by refusing to call for a ceasefire?
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Israel’s Attacks Continue
Since October 7, Israel’s massive bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza has killed more than 11,000 Palestinians, including at least 4,650 children. The UN has called Gaza a “children’s graveyard,” and leading experts have described Israel’s campaign as a “textbook” or at least a “potential” case of genocide against Palestinians.
During Israel’s attacks, which came after Hamas led a deadly assault on Israel on October 7, the Canadian federal government and other political leaders at all levels have consistently reiterated support for Israel.
On November 4, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said that during a conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Trudeau “expressed Canada’s support for Israel and its right to defend itself in accordance with international law, in the face of Hamas’ brutal attacks.”
Even though Israel had already killed thousands of Palestinian civilians at the time of the two leaders’ conversation, Trudeau’s statement “reaffirmed the importance of upholding international humanitarian law and making every effort to protect Palestinian civilians.”
Since that meeting, Israeli forces have repeatedly attacked Gaza’s largest hospitals and other medical infrastructure. On Tuesday, Al Jazeera reported that 40 people had died at the besieged al-Shifa hospital, including six premature babies, with Israeli forces preventing staff from burying the dead. A New York Times investigation corroborated reports that Israel had fired missiles at the hospital, including the facility’s maternity building, in attacks that killed and maimed civilians who were sheltering inside.
Thousands of displaced people are taking shelter at the facility, where there are also approximately 650 patients, including 22 in intensive care and 36 premature babies.
Israel and the United States have insisted that Hamas operates a “command” post underneath the hospital, a claim denied by hospital officials and Hamas. Both Israel and the United States have track records of spreading disinformation during the conflict.
On Wednesday, Israeli troops stormed al-Shifa with tanks and bulldozers, claiming to be in search of Hamas’ alleged underground base. The Israeli military posted images and a video yesterday showing a small stash of guns, several grenades and military vests allegedly retrieved from inside the hospital, but no evidence of tunnels or a command centre.
After it received pushback and ridicule, the Israeli military deleted the video, before reposting an edited version of the video.
Human Rights Watch said this week that Israel’s “repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes.” Such attacks have killed at least 521 people, including 16 medical workers, according to the World Health Organization.
Before the Israeli military’s entry into al-Shifa, doctors in the hospital had been scrambling to keep dozens of premature babies alive by moving them to one of the only remaining parts of the hospital that still has power. The situation for the babies remained critical, doctors said. The rest of the hospital, and another facility, Al Quds, had been forced to suspend operations, amid a lack of water and electricity.
Doctors refused to evacuate al-Shifa ahead of Israel’s attack, because they said doing so without a proper plan of care for the sick and injured would be a death sentence for some patients.
On Tuesday, Trudeau called on the Israeli government to “exercise maximum restraint” ahead of the Israeli military’s entry into the hospital, but did not call for a ceasefire. Notwithstanding, Netanyahu reacted angrily to the prime minister’s comments, posting on ‘X’: “The forces of civilization must back Israel in defeating Hamas barbarism.”