What to do? Read… Write to Canadian leaders…

The following message has just arrived in my Inbox from the Canadian Friends of Sabeel. As a reminder:  Sabeel is the Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center in Jerusalem. The centre was founded by Rev. Dr. Naim Ateek in 1990 and works for justice, peace, and reconciliation in Palestine-Israel. The word, sabeel, is Arabic for ‘the way’ and also ‘a channel’ or ‘spring’.

I invite you to join me in efforts for peace. I’ve just written to our Prime Minister and the leaders of the Official Opposition (New Democratic Party), the Liberal Party, and the Green Party. I have copied my message to the Foreign Affairs Minister and to the Foreign Affairs critic for the Official Opposition. For your reference, here is the information from the Canadian Friends of Sabeel.

Attack on Gaza

In this message:

  • Call to action on Canadian government approval of bombing of Gaza
  • Demonstration places and times
  • Gaza attack summary from Palestinian Centre for HR
  • Escalation timeline 
  • Statement from Palestine House
  • Articles

Call to action on Canadian government approval of bombing of Gaza

Dear Friends of peace in Palestine and Israel,

In the face of another potential slaughter of civilians in Gaza by Israeli occupation forces (IOF), it is regrettable that Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird exhibits a view that Palestinian life is not even worth a mention. His brief press release is concerned only for Israel “and its citizens.”  http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2012/11/14a.aspx?view=d

Rather than forthrightly contextualizing the current violence as precipitated by Israeli aerial bombing and slaughter last week, http://imeu.net/news/article0023227.shtml IOF violence is cast as “the struggle against terrorism, the great struggle of our generation.” Rationalization and complicity with wonton destruction and death stands in stark contrast to the view of Canadians and our tradition of peace ever since Canada was the very founder of UN peacekeeping in response to the 1956 Israeli invasion of Gaza.

Stating that only one people “has the right to defend itself,” indeed those using F-16s and tanks against densely populated civilian areas, ignores or even justifies the terror rained upon by Palestinians by the IOF. No terror is acceptable. Four years ago, the IOF decimation of an already besieged Gaza Strip left hundreds of women and children dead, and thousands injured. Ignoring this history invites a repeat.The government of Canada ought rather to uphold Canadian values and views, refrain from further incendiary remarks, proclaim the value and dignity of each Palestinian as well as Israeli life, and call for an immediate ceasefire.
To make your views known, write:

Stephen Harper, Prime Minister: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca
John Baird, Foreign Affairs Minister: john.baird@parl.gc.ca
Paul Dewar, Foreign Affairs critic for the Official Opposition:  paul.dewar@parl.gc.ca
Thomas Mulcair, Leader of the Official Opposition:  thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca
Bob Rae, Leader of the Liberal Party: bob.rae@parl.gc.ca
Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party:  Elizabeth.May@parl.gc.ca

In peace and solidarity,
The Rev. Robert Assaly

Demonstration places and times

Protests are being held in many Canadian cities and worldwide to speak out against the Israeli aggression in Gaza.  Below is the most recent information on protests being held in Canada.

Montreal | Hall Building, Concordia University, 5:00 p.m. (second demonstration) [link]
Toronto | Israeli Consulate, 180 Bloor Street (E. of St. George TTC), 6:00 p.m. [link]
Vancouver | The Art Gallery, Hornby and Robson Streets, 5:00 p.m. [link]

FRIDAY, 16 Nov
Calgary | City Hall, 3:00 p.m. [link]
Ottawa | Israeli Embassy, 50 O’Connor b/w Queen and Albert, 12:00 p.m. [link]

Montreal | Hall Building, Concordia U, 1455 de Maisonneuve West, 6:00 p.m. [link]

For more information on worldwide events taking place or to add your city to the list of protests, please click on the link below:

Gaza attack summary from Palestinian Centre for HR

Below is an article featured today from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, giving detailed accounts on the current situation in Gaza, including the number od assaults and the number of people killed / injured.

New Israeli Military Escalation against the Gaza Strip;
Leader of Hamas’ Armed Wing and His Bodyguard Extra-Judicially Executed and Death Toll in Rises to 13, Including Two Children and a Woman, While 115 Civilian, Including 26 Children and 25 Women, Wounded

Since Wednesday evening, 14 November 2012, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated military attacks on the Gaza Strip.  They first extra-judicially executed the leader of the Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and his bodyguard.  This attack was followed by a series of aerial, ground and sea attacks on civilian and paramilitary targets throughout the Gaza Strip.  As a result of these attacks, 11 Palestinians, including 4 civilians (two children, a woman and an old man) have been killed and 115 others, including 26 children and 25 women, have been wounded.  IOF have escalated the situation in spite of the quiet atmosphere that followed a previous wave of escalation.  The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is following up developments of this new offensive on the Gaza Strip…

PCHR reiterates condemnation and expresses utmost concern for these crimes, and
1- Warn of deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of this new Israeli military escalation and the tightened closure.  

2- Calls upon the international community to act immediately to stop these crimes, and renews the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation under Article 1 of the Convention to ensure that it is respected at all times, and their responsibilities under Article 146 to pursue perpetrators of serious violations of the Convention, which are determined in Article 147, which lists violations of the Convention amounting to war crimes.

To read PCHR’s complete report, please click on the link below:

Escalation timeline 
Following a two-week lull in violence, Israeli soldiers invade Gaza. In the resulting exchange of gunfire with Palestinian fighters, a 12-year-old boy is killed by an Israeli bullet while he plays soccer.
Shortly afterwards, Palestinian fighters blow up a tunnel along the Gaza-Israel frontier, injuring one Israeli soldier.

An anti-tank missile fired by Palestinian fighters wounds four Israeli soldiers driving in a jeep along the Israel-Gaza boundary.
An Israeli artillery shell lands in a soccer field in Gaza killing two children, aged 16 and 17. Later, an Israeli tank fires a shell at a tent where mourners are gathered for a funeral, killing two more civilians, and wounding more than two dozen others.

One Palestinian civilian is killed and dozens more wounded in Israeli attacks. Four Israeli civilians are also injured as a result of projectiles launched from Gaza, according to the Israeli government.
During an Israeli government cabinet meeting, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz urges the government to “cut off the head of the snake… take out the leadership of Hamas in Gaza.” He also calls for a cutting off of water, food, electricity, and fuel shipments to Gaza’s 1.7 million people.

Palestinian militant factions agree to a truce if Israel ends its attacks.

Israel breaks two days of calm by assassinating Ahmed Jabari, the head of Hamas’ military wing. According to reports, at least eight other Palestinians are killed in Israeli attacks, including at least two children. Palestinian militant groups vow to respond.

Click here for a link to an earlier IMEU factsheet:
Self-Defense or Provocation?: Israel’s History of Breaking Ceasefires

Statement from Palestine House
Gaza under Attack Again and again
Thursday, November 15, 2012

On Wednesday 14, the Israeli army resumed its military offensive against the Gaza Strip by launching a score of blistering, intensified and indiscriminate air strikes against different parts of the Strip leading to the assassination operation targeting commander Ahmed Al-Jaabari and the death of 11 Palestinians , while at least 60 were injured, some seriously including elderly, children and infants.

Israel has declared a comprehensive war against the Palestinian people in Gaza –  which the military calls “Operation Pillar of Defense” while it is a mere aggression against innocent people.  Palestine House condemns in the strongest possible terms the criminal Israeli attack against innocent Palestinians in the Gaza strip which has been under siege and blockaded since 2007 , a situation that has caused a sharp decline in the standard of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment and dire poverty.

We urge the international community to denounce the use of disproportionate  force which is always persued  by Israel as a norm in violation of international law and civilians are often killed or injured . It is left ,however, to civil society and people of conscience to stop the ongoing massacre in Gaza.  The international and human rights organizations are required to warn Israel against carrying out a ground invasion to the Strip.

The Israeli leadership is now reportedly considering expanded war with Gaza, potentially including ground invasion, brigadier –general Yoav Mordechai told Israeli media “there are preparations , and if we are required to, the option of an entry by ground is available”. Israeli troops have massed on the Gaza border, poised for an invasion which would resulted in very critical consequences to the world peace and stabilization in the region.

We call Prime Minister Mr. Harper and his government to reconsider their biased and unbalanced policy towards the inhuman actions of Israel. We remind Mr. Harper that Gaza has been enduring Israeli policy of extermination, assassinations and vandalism under brutal occupation for more than four decades. Occupiers are not in the position to claim that their aggressive actions are being conducted for defensive purposes.

Palestine House and many Canadian solidarity groups are calling you your friends to a attend the rally in front of the Israeli Consulate (as well as other rallies that are being held across the country)
Date :Thursday , 15 November
Time: 6 PM
Location: 180 Bloor West (Toronto)




Mainstream media has also failed in its reporting of the current situation in Gaza. “Bias and dishonesty with respect to the oppression of Palestinians is nothing new in Western media and has been widely documented. Nevertheless, Israel continues its crimes against humanity with full acquiescence and financial, military, and moral support from our governments, the U.S., Canada and the EU.”

Following is an excellent interview by Al Jazeera’s with Ali Abunimah, a Palestinian American journalist, and co-founder of Electronic Intifada, an online publication about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  The interview details the timeline of  recent events and gives a clear analysis on the siege on Gaza, and the complacency of the international community.

1 thought on “What to do? Read… Write to Canadian leaders…

  1. Pingback: Understanding others’ needs – How? | Peacing Stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s