Death Toll Climbs with Gaza Strip Tension
Smoke and flames rising from a building in Gaza on Sunday, as Israel launched rockets for the sixth day running. Palestinian militants later retaliated with two missiles, which were intercepted.
Palestinian families took shelter in a local school after Israel warned of more attacks. While these Palestinian-Americans prepared to leave. Diana Mushtaha is visiting from Texas. She states, “You know, the worst part of everything that’s going on here is that I am in danger because of the 3.1 billion that the U.S. is giving Israel every year and we have been for six days trying to talk to the embassy, trying to talk to the consulate telling them it is not safe here and this is not life…”
At least 149 Palestinians have been killed since the offensive began Tuesday, many of them civilians.
No Israeli has been killed by rocket salvos from Gaza due in part to Iron Dome, an air defense program put in place by Israel.
Canada’s Prime Minister Supports Israel
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement Sunday. “The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification. It is evident that Hamas is deliberately using human shields to further terror in the region,” said the Prime Minister.
“Failure by the international community to condemn these reprehensible actions would encourage these terrorists to continue their appalling actions. Canada calls on its allies and partners to recognize that these terrorist acts are unacceptable and that solidarity with Israel is the best way of stopping the conflict. Canada is unequivocally behind Israel. We support its right to defend itself, by itself, against these terror attacks, and urge Hamas to immediately cease their indiscriminate attacks on innocent Israeli civilians”, added the PM.
“Canada reiterates its call for the Palestinian government to disarm Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups operating in Gaza, including the Iranian proxy, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.”
Canada lists Hamas as a terrorist organization.
NDP MP Charges Canada Not Showing Leadership
Charlie Angus, the NDP MP for Timmins-James Bay charges, “Our thuggish prime minister pumps his chest while people die in Gaza. He may think there are votes to be had by cheering on Netanyahu from the sidelines, but leadership is about trying to find ways to lessen the conflict. Harper would rather score points from the bombing and the killing. What a disgrace to Canada’s once proud tradition of peacemaking”.
“I believe these issues are complex and undercut by mutliple issues of rights, abuses and historical claims. What I object to is the Canadian government stomping through these issues like a belligerent drunk cranking up the conflict to win votes even if it means that innocent children and citizens are going to get killed. The world deserves better leadership from us.” adds Angus.
Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic, Marc Garneau, says, “The Liberal Party of Canada is greatly concerned about the escalating violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip. We strongly urge all parties to without delay seek an immediate ceasefire. All possible steps must be taken to protect civilian life. The only path to peace is through negotiation. All sides must demonstrate restraint and a real commitment to peace if this violence is to be quelled.”
United Nations Secretary General Expresses Concern
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday voiced alarm that, despite the Security Council’s clear demand for a ceasefire, the situation in and around the Gaza Strip appears to be worsening, with grave implications for the safety of both Israeli and Palestinian civilians.
“He strongly believes that it is in the interest of both sides that steps toward dangerous escalation be replaced with immediate measures to end the fighting, thus preventing further casualties and greater risks to regional peace and security,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.
“He demands both sides move in this direction now.”
The statement went on to note that Hamas’ indiscriminate firing of rockets against Israeli civilian targets is a violation of international law.
“The Secretary-General, abhorring the images of Israeli families hovering in shelters in fear for their children’s safety, repeats his condemnation of Palestinian rockets fired from Gaza and demands an immediate cessation of these indecent attacks,” it stated.
“The Secretary-General is also deeply worried about the impact on Palestinian families of Israeli military action,” the statement said, adding that he feels “a sense of responsibility” for the Palestinians who, especially in the Gaza Strip, have long been denied the sense of freedom and dignity that they deserve.
“The Secretary-General does not believe that what is inherently a longstanding, serious political dispute between Israelis and Palestinians can be resolved via military means by either side. He remains engaged with both sides to urge de-escalation and an end to violence.”
Mr. Ban’s call echoes that made yesterday by the Security Council which called for a de-escalation of the situation, restoration of calm, and reinstitution of the November 2012 ceasefire that ended eight days of violence in Gaza and Israel.
Sources: DAILY MOTION / REUTERS