Canada must oppose Israeli reluctance on ceasefire: CJPME

Montreal, June 26, 2024 — Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME) is urging the Canadian government to put pressure on Israeli leadership to accept a ceasefire deal that would ensure a permanent end to hostilities in Gaza. The current proposal for a ceasefire as endorsed by US President Biden and the UN Security Council, despite being marketed as an “Israeli” plan, has not been accepted by Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu, who still opposes an end to Israel’s genocidal war. Amid famine conditions in Gaza and threats of all-out war in Lebanon, CJPME urges Canada to impose sanctions on Israel’s leadership to force an end to hostilities.

Despite claims from the West, CJPME points out that Israel’s Prime Minister is still publicly opposed to the premises of the deal being floated by the US and others. “It is evident that Israel’s leadership is preventing a ceasefire agreement, as Netanyahu continues to voice steadfast opposition to a permanent ceasefire in Gaza,” said Thomas Woodley, President of CJPME. “In the meantime, as we have asserted many times in recent months, Canada and the world must do everything they can to halt Israel’s genocidal assault. As a first step, Canada must impose sanctions against Israel to force its leadership to accept an end to the war,” added Woodley.

The current proposal for a three-stage deal would involve the gradual release of hostages, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, and a permanent end to hostilities. CJPME notes that Canada, the US, and other countries have tried to present the current ceasefire proposal as an “Israeli plan” and have put full blame onto Hamas: the text of UNSC Resolution 2735 claimed that Israel had “accepted” the plan and called on Hamas to do so, while the G7 Statement signed by Canada welcomed “Israel’s acceptance” of the proposal and urged “countries with influence over Hamas to help ensure that it does so.” Despite this framing, Netanyahu has repeatedly made comments that contradict the Biden plan, saying that any talk of a permanent ceasefire before dismantling Hamas was a “nonstarter,” and recently said that he would only support a “partial deal” that would allow the fighting to continue “in order to achieve the goal of destroying Hamas.”

On the contrary, Hamas welcomed the Biden proposal but has attempted to secure guarantees that it would lead to a permanent end to Israel’s assault. Such a demand for guarantees reveals the incoherence in the ceasefire plan, as Netanyahu says he will stop at nothing short of the full destruction of Hamas – an outcome that even the Israeli military says is impossible. The former spokesperson for the hostages’ families has said that Netanyahu is “no doubt” preventing a hostage deal that would end the war, and claims that “Hamas had offered on October 9 or 10 to release all the civilian hostages in exchange for the IDF not entering the Strip, but the government rejected the offer.” CJPME believes that Israel must be pressured into dropping its aim of annihilating Gaza, which it has put ahead of all other objectives including the release of hostages.

“If Israel would accept the Biden deal and commit to a permanent end to hostilities, they could secure the release of the hostages and de-escalate the fighting with Hezbollah in Lebanon. Instead, Israel’s leaders have chosen to pursue a devastating and genocidal war against the people of Gaza as a whole, while moving dangerously towards a full-out regional war. Canada must step in to stop the genocide and bring a halt to further bloodshed. Sanctions are necessary to force Israel to accept a deal and put down its arms,” added Woodley.