‘Humanitarian Pauses’ won’t avert catastrophe in Gaza: CJPME

Montreal, October 25, 2023 — Canada’s support for “humanitarian pauses” in Gaza falls far short of averting further human catastrophe, asserts Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME). An immediate ceasefire, warns CJPME, is essential, as Israel’s bombardment and siege have brought the humanitarian situation in Gaza to the brink of total collapse, with hospitals and UN agencies warning that they will effectively cease to function if they do not receive fuel and water immediately. Yesterday, the Canadian government followed the United States in calling for “humanitarian pauses on hostilities to be considered,” while continuing to reject calls for a ceasefire. CJPME urges Canada to call for a total and unconditional ceasefire in Israel-Palestine, the lifting of Israel’s siege, and a massive influx of aid to prevent unfathomable human loss.

“What good is a bottle of water and pack of medicine if Israel turns around and bombs that hospital, and kills those people we fed? A ‘pause’ will only delay the inevitable bloodshed,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “Israel’s actions have aimed to destroy the conditions of life in Gaza. An immediate ceasefire and lifting of the siege, including the influx of fuel and other supplies, is the bare minimum needed to stop this crisis from becoming a pogrom of tragic and historic proportions,” added Woodley.

For over two weeks, Israel’s ‘total siege’ – strictly illegal under international law – has cut off access to water, food, electricity, fuel, and medicines to 2.3 million civilians, bringing the health of the population to the brink of death. While a small amount of humanitarian aid has finally been allowed into part of the territory, the United Nations warns that this does not come anywhere close to the basic level necessary for survival. Of critical importance, Israel continues to deny the entry of fuel: without this, Gaza’s health ministry said today that the remaining hospitals are about to shut down; similarly, the UN agency for Palestine refugees warns that it is about to be forced to cease operations in Gaza.

Indiscriminate Israeli airstrikes – at times targeting even schools, mosques, churches, hospitals, ambulances, and apartment buildings – have now killed over 6,456 Palestinians in Gaza, including 2,704 children. “A ‘humanitarian pause’ implies that Canada will allow this full assault on Palestinian civilians to continue once supplies of aid have been delivered – this is completely intolerable. A ceasefire is necessary to stop further bloodshed,” added Woodley. Last week, a group of seven United Nations human rights experts warned: “We are sounding the alarm: There is an ongoing campaign by Israel resulting in crimes against humanity in Gaza … [and] a risk of genocide against the Palestine people.”

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 www.cjpme.org

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