Government ignoring needs of Canada’s aid sector in Gaza: CJPME

Montreal, October 30, 2023Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) warns that the Canadian government’s humanitarian approach to Gaza is failing the needs of the aid sector under Israeli bombardment and siege. CJPME emphasizes that every single announced recipient of Canada’s humanitarian aid has been pushing for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, and several recipients have even been directly targeted in Israeli attacks. Despite this, Canada has failed to condemn Israel for its attacks on aid workers and continues to reject calls for a ceasefire. CJPME urges Canada to listen to the appeals from its partners on the ground and finally withdraw its support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

“Humanitarian agencies receiving Canadian funds are being directly targeted in Israeli strikes, yet Canada won’t even call Israel to stop bombing them,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “So long as Canada continues to support the indiscriminate bombing of Gaza, its concern for civilian lives cannot be taken seriously, and is, frankly, hypocritical,” added Woodley.

Since October 7, Canada’s Minister of International Development Ahmed Hussen has announced $60m in humanitarian aid to “Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.” An initial portion has been allocated to the Canadian Red Cross (via the Palestine Red Crescent), UNICEF, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the World Food Programme, and the World Health Organization. CJPME notes that every one of these recipients is calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, which Canada has repeatedly failed to support. Canada has also pledged up to $10m in matching funds for the Humanitarian Coalition, whose members include World Vision, Islamic Relief, Save the Children, Oxfam, and more. The Coalition has been calling for an immediate ceasefire, noting that “humanitarian workers cannot operate safely under bombing campaigns and military strikes.”

CJPME points out that several recipients of Canadian humanitarian aid have been directly targeted in Israeli strikes. At least 63 UNRWA employees have been killed in Israeli airstrikes, and 44 UNRWA buildings have been damaged. This includes direct attacks on schools hosting displaced people seeking refuge. Similarly, the Palestine Red Crescent reports that Israeli attacks have killed 4 of its paramedics while damaging 10 ambulances, its headquarters, an emergency operations room, and a warehouse. Overall, 124 medical staff have been killed and 57 health facilities damaged in Israeli attacks. Meanwhile, Islamic Relief’s Gaza office has been “completely destroyed” due to indiscriminate Israeli bombing.

Over the weekend, a complete information blackout had cut off all remaining access to internet and cell coverage. This has made it impossible for Gaza residents to contact their families or call for an ambulance. United Nations agencies and humanitarian NGOs, including Canada’s aid recipients, had lost all contact with staff on the ground. Communications have since been partially restored. Since October 7, over 8,300 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including over 3,400 children.

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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