Atrocities against civilians in Gaza must end: CJPME

Montreal, October 13, 2023Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) urgently calls on the Canadian government to push for an end to mounting Israeli atrocities in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. CJPME’s call comes after Israel’s demand for the mass displacement of half the population of Gaza in advance of an Israeli ground invasion. Many commentators warn of the unconscionable prospect of an imminent Israeli “genocide” against Palestinians.

Overnight, Israel gave notice to more than 1.1 million Palestinians in the north of Gaza that they had 24 hours to relocate to the south of the territory in advance of Israel’s ground invasion. Israel claimed that the relocation of civilians is necessary “for their own safety and protection,” as it prepares for a major ground invasion. The UN has warned Israel that such movement is “impossible … without devastating humanitarian consequences,” and the UN agency for Palestinian refugees warns that it will “only lead to unprecedented levels of misery and further push people in Gaza into abyss.” CJPME argues that Israel’s ‘warning’ to civilians cannot be understood as genuine, particularly given the impossibility of it being implemented, but rather serves as a threat to trigger the forcible transfer of half the population of Gaza.

“The implications of Israel’s order are unprecedented and extremely alarming,” asserted Thomas Woodley, president of CJPME. “Given the very real possibility of a massive pogrom against Palestinian civilians, Canada must oppose Israel’s displacement orders in the strongest possible terms,” added Woodley. CJPME points out that, if Israel is permitted to impose its directive, it would lead to a displacement of Palestinians rivalling the one that occurred in 1948, known by Palestinians as the ‘Nakba’ (Arabic for ‘catastrophe’). CJPME considers the scale of this potential calamity to be unthinkable, and demands that Minister Joly put immediate pressure on Israel to retract its orders when she arrives in Israel today.

CJPME argues that the nature and scale of Israel’s unlawful actions in Gaza have resulted in a growing humanitarian catastrophe. In just the first 5 days, Israel dropped more than 6,000 bombs in indiscriminate airstrikes which have killed more than 1,799 Palestinians, including 583 children, targeting all forms of civilian infrastructure. Israel also imposed a devastating “total siege” on Gaza, cutting off access to water, food, electricity, and fuel, causing shortages of essentials and forcing the sole power plant to shut down. In justifying this decision, Israel’s defence minister referred to Gazans in dehumanizing and genocidal language as “human animals.” Israel has denied requests to allow humanitarian aid into the territory. In preparation for next steps, the Israeli military has warned international supporters that “the scenes out of Gaza will be hard to stomach.” When threats of imminent ground invasion are realized, the human toll will be unfathomable.

About CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is a non-profit and secular organization bringing together men and women of all backgrounds who labour to see justice and peace take root again in the Middle East. Its mission is to empower decision-makers to view all sides with fairness and to promote the equitable and sustainable development of the region.

For more information, please contact: Michael Bueckert, VP CJPME: 613-315-7947 or [email protected].

Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East

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