Times Colonist E-edition

At UN, Canada calls for Gaza ceasefire, a shift away from voting with Israel


— Canada voted in favour of a non-binding resolution at the United Nations on Tuesday that calls for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” between Israel and Hamas, in a move that broke with years of Canadian policy and shocked Jewish groups.

Canada’s vote Tuesday at the UN General Assembly represents a shift in its long-standing position of voting with Israel on major resolutions at the international body and arguing the Jewish state is unfairly called out in global forums.

“We must recognize that what is unfolding before our eyes will only enhance the cycle of violence,” Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said Tuesday on Parliament Hill.

“This will not lead to the durable defeat of Hamas, which is necessary, and the threat that it poses to Israel. With the future of Israelis and Palestinians in mind, Canada is joining the international call for humanitarian ceasefire.”

Canada has stated from the beginning that Israel has the right to defend itself, Joly said. “And how Israel defends itself matters. It matters for the future of both Israelis and Palestinians, and it matters for the future of the region,” she added.

The latest war between Israel and Hamas began after the group launched an attack in Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking about 240 people hostage.

Israel retaliated with airstrikes on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and cutting off its access to supplies. Hamas-linked authorities say more than 18,000 Palestinians have been killed.

“Thousands of children are now orphans,” Joly said Tuesday.

“Countless Palestinian civilians in Gaza are suffering without water, food, fuel or medicine and their homes have been reduced to rubble.”

The National Council of Canadian Muslims called the UN vote a “milestone” that needs to translate into “the reality of action and deeds.”

The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs said it was “disgusted and frankly shocked” by Canada’s stance, given that the motion does not explicitly call out Hamas for its crimes or urge the group to surrender. “Canada’s decision to support the resolution will undoubtedly lead to further hate being directed towards Jews here in Canada.”

Hamas “cannot be rewarded and left unaccountable,” said the group.

Canada backed a U.S. amendment to the resolution that would have explicitly condemned Hamas, but the amendment did not reach the required support of two-thirds of the assembly.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said earlier Tuesday that Israel and Hamas must work toward “a sustainable ceasefire.” That would start with another multi-day truce like one last month that allowed the flow of humanitarian aid and the release of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners.

Trudeau issued a joint statement with his Australian and New Zealand counterparts, outlining stances on the war.

The statement called for Hamas to release the hostages from its “heinous” attack, and noted the group is responsible for sexual violence and “using Palestinian civilians as human shields.”

The leaders called for “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access” to the Gaza Strip and for Israel to stop its siege of the territory.






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