Canada must insist that Israel end man-made famine in Gaza: CJPME

Montreal, April 1, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) strenuously urges the Trudeau government to pressure Israel to end policies which are creating a man-made famine in Gaza. For weeks, media reports indicate that children have begun to starve to death as a direct result of Israel’s blockade, which itself violates the orders of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to ensure humanitarian access. If diplomatic strategies to get Israel to end its aid blockade have thus far been unproductive, CJPME reiterates its demand that Canada impose sanctions on Israeli leaders responsible for the forced starvation in Gaza.

“With children beginning to starve to death in Gaza, we are witnessing the inevitable consequences of a deliberate and inhumane Israeli policy,” said Michael Bueckert, Vice President of CJPME. “From the very first days of the war, Israeli leaders openly proclaimed a policy of forced famine. Canada must finally acknowledge that Israel’s actions reflect blatant genocidal intent, and impose sanctions to prevent further mass deaths,” added Bueckert.

Only two days after the October 7 Hamas attack, Israel’s defence minister Yoav Gallant ordered a “complete siege” on Gaza and promised: “There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed … We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly." Since then, Israeli restrictions at the border crossings into Gaza have slowed down the delivery of food aid to a trickle, far short of the bare minimum necessary for survival. Last month, the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee (FRC) warned that “Famine is imminent” in northern Gaza and that “all evidence points towards a major acceleration of death and malnutrition.” Last week the ICJ issued new provisional measures given the “spread of famine and starvation,” ordering Israel to prevent genocide by ensuring “the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.”

CJPME asserts that Canada’s approach to this man-made crisis has been completely inadequate. Statements by Canadian cabinet ministers often express concern for the humanitarian situation, but such expressions of concern have led to no discernable action or pressure on Israel. Parliament voted on March 18 to “demand unimpeded humanitarian access to Gaza,” and CJPME and Canadians expect the Trudeau government to respect the will of Parliament. 

Canada has also pledged significant funding for aid and is participating in food airdrops and a “humanitarian sea corridor.” Yet CJPME has already pointed out the significant shortcomings of these schemes, which fail to address Israel’s appalling aid restrictions.

“At a fundamental level, the problem of famine in Gaza is political, not logistical or financial. Israel is deliberately using starvation as a weapon of war. In this context, no amount of aid pledges or schemes will be sufficient. Canada must bring an end to Israel’s genocidal siege,” added Bueckert.