Gaza Hospital Massacre Underscores Need for Ceasefire, Accountability: CJPME

Montreal, October 18, 2023Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) condemns yesterday’s horrific attack on a Gaza hospital in the strongest possible terms, and reiterates its call on Canada to demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to Israel’s bombardment, occupation, and siege. Al Jazeera reports that an Israeli airstrike last night hit the Anglican-run Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City, which was sheltering hundreds of people seeking refuge, killing an estimated 500 people. CJPME further urges Canada to demand an international, independent investigation capable of holding the perpetrators accountable.

“Canada’s refusal to demand an end to Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has emboldened its indiscriminate attacks on civilians,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “Trudeau must insist upon an immediate ceasefire before another hospital is targeted,” added Woodley.

While Israel has denied responsibility for the attack, CJPME emphasizes that politicians and journalists must treat these claims with extreme caution and not allow them to overshadow eyewitness claims or independent investigations. CJPME notes that Israel has a pattern of denying responsibility for such incidents, often providing claims of exonerating evidence which is later discredited. Only last year, Israel initially denied responsibility for the killing of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, releasing video ‘evidence’ which was immediately debunked, then months later admitted that an Israeli soldier was most likely responsible. In Gaza, Israel blamed Palestinian Islamic Jihad for a strike that killed 5 Palestinian children, then admitted fault weeks later.

Immediately following the latest strike on the Gaza hospital, Israeli ‘digital war’ spokesperson Hananya Naftali claimed on Twitter that Israel had “struck a Hamas terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza” killing a “multiple number of terrorists,” but later deleted the post. Israeli officials have made a number of false and contradictory claims about this attack, including the publication of videos on Twitter which were later deleted.

On Saturday October 14th, a few days before the massacre, the same hospital was hit by an Israeli strike which had damaged the ultrasound and mammography room and injured four health workers. Over the next three days, the hospital received several warnings by phone ordering hospital staff to evacuate. Twenty-two hospitals in northern Gaza are under Israeli orders to evacuate, an order which the World Health Organization has called a “death sentence” for patients. Hospital staff and medics with the Palestine Red Crescent have refused to leave their patients behind. Before yesterday, more than 12 health workers had already been killed in Israeli attacks on hospitals and ambulances. Israel’s siege has brought Gaza’s health system to the point of collapse, turning hospitals into morgues. Doctors have been forced to perform surgery without painkillers and drink out of IV solution bags. In this context of Israeli actions which target the civilian population of Gaza as a whole, comments by Israeli officials may amount to statements of genocidal intent.

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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